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Gangar gets adjournment until after Panday decision
Former energy minister Finbar Gangar has applied for the case against him to be adjourned pending the outcome of judicial review proceedings in a matter against former prime minister Basdeo Panday. Adjourning the cases to April 5, Magistrate Marcia Murray agreed to wait until the judicial review. She said the adjournment would allow for a decision in the Panday matter, as well as determining if that outcome would affect Gangar’s case.
Gangar is charged with two counts of failing to declare two bank accounts to the Integrity Commission in 1998 and 1999. Refusing to address the issue of recusing herself from presiding over Gangar’s trial, which was put forward by state prosecutor Dana Seetahal, SC, Murray said that issue would be addressed at the next hearing, when the court is expected to know the outcome of the judicial review matter.
Panday was acquitted by Murray on June 26, 2012, in the Port-of-Spain First Court, 11 years after he was charged with failing to declare a London bank account to the Integrity Commission for three consecutive years.
Panday was facing three charges under the Integrity in Public Life Act of 1987, after he failed to declare the assets of the account, amounting to approximately $1.6 million, held at the National Westminster Bank at Wimbledon Hill Road, London, for 1997, 1998 and 1999, while he was prime minister.
Exactly three months after Murray’s ruling, Justice James Aboud granted Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard leave for judicial review of Murray’s decision in the Panday matter. Gangar, of Otaheite Residential Park, South Oropouche, is charged with failing to declare two bank accounts in Jersey, Channel Islands, two in New York and one each in RBC Bank and Scotiabank in San Fernando. He is being represented by Jagdeo Singh.
Arguing that the matter should continue, as it was more than ten years old, Seetahal said there was no distinction between the cases involving Panday and Gangar, and the charges were essentially the same. Murray will rule on the application to recuse herself on April 5, when the matter has been listed for mention and a status update on the judicial review.
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