Saturday, February 24, 2018

Commission wants DPP to take action

Bakr ignores summons...

THE Commission of Enquiry has formally written to Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard asking that he take whatever action he deems appropriate in respect of the failure of coup leader Yasin Abu Bakr to answer a summons to appear before the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 coup attempt.

Lead counsel for the Commission Avory Sinanan SC reported yesterday that, as instructed, he had written to the DPP, paving the way for action to be taken against Bakr under Section 16 of the Commission of Enquiry Act.

Should the DPP charge Bakr, he would be liable to a fine of $2,000, which has to be handed down by a magistrate.

The letter written to Gaspard, dated September 10, said that pursuant to the powers of the Commission under Section 11 of the Commission of Enquiry Act, the Commission had issued a witness summons on August 29 to Bakr to attend a hearing on September 3.

It said the summons was served personally on Bakr on August 30 and conduct money of $75 was tendered to him.

The letter said by letter dated September 4, Bakr acknowledged receipt of the summons and his awareness of the consequences that could ensue from his failure to obey the summons. The letter to the DPP enclosed a copy of Bakr's letter.

The Commission stated that Bakr did not attend the hearing on Sepember 3 in answer to the summons, nor did he attend the hearing of the Commission to offer any explanation for his non-attendance.

The Commission's letter stated that it considered on September 3 the issue of Bakr's non-attendance and found he had advanced no sufficeint cause and he was accordingly in breach of Section 12 of the Act.

The Commission's letter stated further that it had ruled that in accordance with the provision of Section 16 of the Act, the matter be referred to "you, (the DPP) to take such action in respect of this infraction as you may deem appropriate'.

The Commission also enclosed a transcript of its proceedings on September 5 at which its ruling was recorded.

In his September 4 letter, Abu Bakr said he had no intention of answering any questions at the enquiry until he was discharged of the matters before the High Court.

He said notwithstanding the suggestion of Gaspard that he (Bakr) give his evidence in camera, he had little faith in the promises of State officials.

Bakr said, following the coup attemp, he was given an amnesty and the assurance that he and his co-conspirators would not be prosecuted, a promise on which the State reneged.

He also said he was given the assurance by a prime minister that the lands at Mucurapo would be regularised and that undetaking was also breached.