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Win for Maxwell

Suspended deputy chairman of the Integrity Commission Gladys Gafoor yesterday. At right is President George Maxwell Richards.

REGION — A high court judge has dismissed the constitutional motion filed by suspended deputy chairman of the Integrity Commission, Gladys Gafoor, challenging the decision by President George Maxwell Richards to appoint a tribunal to investigate complaints made against her by fellow members of the commission.

The decision of Justice Vasheist Kokaram has effectively cleared the way for the tribunal to proceed with its mandate from Richards to enquire into whether Gafoor should be removed from office.

Gafoor’s lead attorney, Clyde Phelps, asked Kokaram to grant a temporary stay of execution to allow Gafoor to file an appeal, but the request was denied.

In the constitutional motion, Richards was accused of “misfeasance in public office”, arising out of his decision to suspend Gafoor, with full pay, on February 9 and appoint the tribunal.

Gafoor had complained there was insufficient evidence to trigger the appointment of the tribunal, which is being chaired by former chief justice Michael de la Bastide and comprises Justice Humphrey Stollmeyer and Justice Maureen Rajnauth Lee.

The dispute between Gafoor and fellow commissioners – chairman Ken Gordon, Neil Rolingson and Dr Ann Marie Bissessar – arose when former attorney general John Jeremie wrote to the commission on November 15, 2011. Jeremie requested that Gafoor and another commissioner, Seunarine Jokhoo, recuse themselves from hearing a matter against him (Jeremie). The other members of the commission agreed with Jeremie on December 19, 2010 and Jokhoo recused himself. Gafoor, however, refused to follow suit.

In his judgment yesterday, Kokaram said although Gafoor’s suspension was not imposed by way of a penalty and not disciplinary in nature, the associated publicity and display of dissatisfaction and acrimony, played out in the full view of the public between herself and the other commissioners, would naturally have affected her reputation as a member of the commission. (Express)

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