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
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 Jeremies 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 attorneysheaded
by Devesh Maharajclaimed that Jeremies decision
on the issue marred by actual and or apparent bias.
Jeremies 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
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
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.