Ruling party denies influencing DPP’s office in bus saga case

Lionel Hurst says suggestions that the Labour Party is influencing the DPP are untrue
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A representative of the ruling Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) is refuting claims that the party is manipulating the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the corruption case involving three former United Progressive Party (UPP) ministers.

Last Tuesday, the DPP’s office filed an application in the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal to review Justice Colin Williams’ decision to dismiss the case against Harold Lovell, Dr Jacqui Quinn and Wilmoth Daniel, who were also accused of embezzlement and conversion regarding three buses in 2008. They were said to have used the buses, donated to their then administration by South Korea, for their own personal use.

On Friday, Lovell said Prime Minister Gaston Browne had indicated that there should have been an appeal in the matter, claiming that was a “dog whistle” for the DPP’s office and accusing the DPP, Anthony Armstrong, of “playing politics”.

However, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel Hurst, asserted that the DPP is merely doing his job.

“The idea in our court system is that you can appeal a judgement handed down by a High Court judge … and if the prosecutor determines that something is amiss with the judgement that has been passed by first the magistrate and second by a High Court judge, the Director of Public Prosecution has a right to do exactly what he is doing,” Hurst said.

Hurst also maintained that suggestions that the Labour Party is influencing the DPP are untrue.

“The idea that somehow if he appeals it appears as though the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party is directing the Director of Public Prosecution is just false, and I believe you all know it very well but it sells,” he added.

Armstrong declined to comment on the claims when contacted by Observer.

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