June 25, 2017

Enmore NDC threatens legal action if seized computers not returned

The Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) office at Enmore, East Coast Demerara

The Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) office at Enmore, East Coast Demerara

Attorney-at-Law Anil Nandlall, who has been detained by the Enmore Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), wrote the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) on Tuesday requesting that the agency return several computer systems that were confiscated last week.

It was reported that on Thursday last, a group of agents attached to SARU went down to the Enmore NDC and took away 15 desktop computers and eight backup power packs without informing officials there.

However, when contacted that evening, SARU Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Major (Rtd) Aubrey Heath-Retemyer explained to Guyana Times International that his agency had merely gone to render assistance to the E-Governance Department, which went to retrieve the computer systems after it was informed by SARU that the NDC wanted to “get rid” of them.

“We got information that these computers were there and that they were not in use and that some people on the NDC were about to get rid of them…We simply alerted E-Governance who asked for us to accompany them, so some people went from my unit with E-Governance, collect the computers and give them to E-Governance, who has them,” the SARU Head stated.

However, Enmore NDC Vice Chairman Iqbal Dawud in a subsequent statement the following day denied that there was any “such plot”, adding that “nothing clandestine or unlawful was intended”.

He went on to explain that the computers, which were the property of the NDC, were outdated and most of them were malfunctioning; as such, a decision was taken by the Council to have the computers sold, if possible, and replaced with a new complement of systems so that the community can continue to benefit from their use.

“This decision was made at a public statutory meeting of the NDC and recorded in the minutes. Therefore, there was nothing sinister, secretive or illegal about it as has been suggested by the Government,” Dawud had pointed out.

To this end, the NDC retained Attorney Nandlall to act on its behalf in the matter. Nandlall outlined in the legal letter addressed to SARU’s CEO that the actions of the SARU officers were “unlawful”.

“I have noted that in the press you have admitted knowledge of and responsibility for this operation and, therefore, I afflict you with knowledge of the current location of these equipment. I am to inform you that the aforesaid actions of your subordinates are not only authoritarian but are unlawful, illegal, and unconstitutional and amount to misfeasance in public office,” the Attorney said in the letter.

In the circumstances, Nandlall warned that legal action would be taken if SARU failed to return the computer systems to the NDC.

“I hereby demand that you return the aforementioned equipment to my client at the location from which they were taken, within seven days from the date hereof; if you fail to do so, my client will be advised to institute legal proceedings against the State and possibly, private criminal charges against each of the officers who were part of the aforementioned unlawful and criminal exercise,” the lawyer detailed in the letter to the SARU Head.

Furthermore, Nandlall reminded Heath-Retemyer in the letter of his (Nandlall’s) constant public condemnation of the pretention by SARU officers to be law enforcement officers of the State, pretending to exercise law enforcement powers. This continued masquerade, he said, is utterly unlawful.