Wednesday 4th October, 2006

 

Steve, Ish file for judicial review...against extradition to US

 
 
 
 
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By Gail Alexander

Businessmen Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh yesterday initiated judicial review proceedings in an attempt to block their extradition to the United States to face corruption charges there.

Attorneys for both men filed documents in the High Court yesterday against Attorney General John Jeremie and Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicholls.

The application seeks to quash Jeremie’s decision in July to go ahead with a request by the US to have both men extradited to that country to face charges.

It also seeks to quash Mc Nicholls’ decision to issue arrest warrants for the two businessmen.

Ferguson and Galbaransingh have claimed that the moves against them by Jeremie were politically motivated.

In December, a Florida court indicted both men on some 82 charges including alleged money laundering, bank and wire fraud and transportation of stolen funds arising from the Piarco Development Project.

Four US citizens, an Aruban and a Colombian national were also charged similarly.

In May, US authorities said moves were afoot to extradite Ferguson and Galbaransingh on corruption charges arising out of the Piarco project. They have been accused in the US court of “enriching” themselves by overpricing contracts for the Piarco project.

Yesterday, the application for judicial review filed by attorneys—headed by Devesh Maharaj—claimed that Jeremie’s decision on the issue marred by “actual and or apparent bias.”

Jeremie’s decision was also described as “unjust, oppressive and an abuse of process.”

The application stated that Jeremie should not have issued the authority to proceed with extradition proceedings while domestic criminal proceedings against Ferguson and Galbaransingh were still ongoing (in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court).

Similar arguments were presented in the aspect of the case involving Mc Nicholls.

Citing grounds for the application, attorneys claimed Jeremie was motivated by “improper and ulterior political motives both in promoting and supporting the requests” for the extradition proceedings and in granting the authorities to proceed.

Attorneys claimed Jeremie has “demonstrated his determination” to use state resources to ensure Galbaransingh and Ferguson were subject to a series of prosecutions and other proceedings designed to harass them.

The application also accused Jeremie of playing “an active part in the irritation and continuation” of the domestic prosecution against both men.

 

 

 

 

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