Wed | Aug 12, 2020

PNP bigwigs to face Privy Council in March

Published:Tuesday | July 14, 2020 | 12:42 AM

Another round in the ongoing Trafigura case involving several People’s National Party (PNP) bigwigs is to get under way on March 1 next year.

The case involving former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Phillip Paulwell, Robert Pickersgill, Colin Campbell, and Norton Hinds centres around a J$31-million donation by Trafigura Beheer to the PNP in 2006.

The Dutch authorities want to question the former prime minister and PNP president and the senior PNP members but they have challenged the ruling to give statements in public.

Illegal donation

Under Dutch law, it is illegal for companies to donate to political parties. At the time of the donation, Trafigura had an oil-lifting contract with the then PNP administration.

Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn confirmed with The Gleaner on Monday of the development in the case.

“Andrea Martin Swaby, deputy director of public prosecutions, was informed by the lawyers in England and she told me. We have lawyers in England appearing for us,” Llewellyn said, confirming the March 1, 2021 date.

The Office of the DPP will be appearing as the designated central authority in the matter, acting on behalf of the Dutch authorities.

The lawyers for the PNP are challenging, among other things, a decision by the Supreme Court to make an order that Simpson Miller, Paulwell, Pickersgill, Campbell, and Hinds can answer questions in open court from Dutch investigators probing the donation.

The ruling was made by former Supreme Court judge Justice Lennox Campbell last June.

Campbell’s decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal following a challenge by the PNP officials.

However, lawyers from the defence were given leave to make a final appeal in the matter.

In the previous case against the politicians, costs were awarded against them.