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Court to hear submission in Trafigura case
2012-09-26 09:09:55 | (0 Comments)
The Constitutional Court is to continue hearing submissions on the application brought by the People’s National Party (PNP), challenging an order for several of its members to answer questions relating to the Trafigura case.
Lawyers representing the PNP officials had sought to have the matter put off but that request was turned down by the court.
On Monday, attorney at law Bert Samuels, who is representing PNP President Portia Simpson Miller and party chairman Robert Pickersgill, argued that they cannot be called upon to give evidence in relation to Trafigura as they have diplomatic immunity.
Samuels contended that by virtue of the fact that they are members of the Cabinet, Simpson-Miller and Pickersgill cannot be compelled to respond to questions from the Dutch authorities.
He pointed out that under the Mutual Assistance (Criminal Matters) Act no person should be forced to give evidence, which he could not be compelled to give in criminal proceedings in Jamaica or in a foreign State.
Meanwhile, attorney at law Deborah Martin has argued that the claimants were stripped of their protection, when they were ordered to appear in open court to answer questions which could incriminate them.
Martin, who is representing Phillip Paulwell and Colin Campbell, said they assert their rights under the Constitution not to answer any questions.
Dutch authorities want to question the PNP officials about a $31 million donation to the party by Dutch company Trafigura Beheer.
It is illegal for Dutch companies to donate to political parties.
At the time of the donation in 2006, Trafigura had an oil-lifting contract with the PNP Administration which formed the government.
Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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