Another delay in Trafigura case

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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The ruling on the application filed by lawyers representing former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and four other People's National Party (PNP) members in the Trafigura case, who are seeking to take the matter to the United Kingdom-based Privy Council, has been delayed.

A registrar in the Court of Appeal yesterday advised the court that the judges indicated that they were not finished with the judgement and that a date for the judgement will be announced.

Last June, the Court of Appeal dismissed the PNP members' appeal against a Supreme Court ruling that Simpson Miller, Phillip Paulwell, Robert Pickersgill, Colin Campbell, and Norton Hinds must testify in open court about the $31-million donation by Trafigura Baheer to the then governing PNP in 2006.

Dutch authorities want to question the former prime minister and the PNP members about the donation made by the Dutch firm, but the PNP members have insisted that they have no information that can assist the Dutch investigation.

Defence lawyers for the five had argued that the judge erred in his ruling and that his ruling was flawed. They also argued that the individuals cannot be compelled to cooperate with requesting foreign states, that the treaties have to be subjected to Jamaican laws, that they already indicated they know nothing about alleged bribery in respect to Trafigura, and cannot help the Dutch authorities any further.

But the Court of Appeal, in dismissing the appeal, ruled that the proceedings brought under the Mutual Assistance Criminal Matters Act are subject to the principles of open justice as mentioned in Section 16 (3) of the constitution and that the ruling of the judge that these proceedings should be conducted in open court is correct in law and “does not warrant this (Appeal) Court's interference”.

— Tanesha Mundle

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