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Director of Audit completes report on former Registrar

Director of Audit completes report on former Registrar


Director of Audit Dahlia Sealey has completed her investigations into the allegations of misappropriation of funds by the former Registrar of the High Court Vanessa Tamara Gibson-Marks.

At a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves disclosed {{more}}that he received the report of the director of audit on July 30.

He said he also spoke to Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan and Acting Commissioner of Police Reynold Hadaway, who both informed him that they had also received the document and had studied its contents.

“I had said from the beginning, when persons are raising all sorts of things and going on this report and that report, I said let us get all the facts and let the institutions of state do their work.

“Commissioner of Police Michael Charles… said he is awaiting the report from the director of audit and that is now available,” Gonsalves said.

“It is not in my place to speak about the details of the report because I am not interposing myself… those who are addressing this matter will address them.

“I have read the report very carefully and I expect the institutions of state to follow through with their work,” the Prime Minister said.

Marks, who had been assigned to the post of registrar since 2008, resigned and left the country in May this year, shortly after a meeting with Jones-Morgan, who, according to a source, requested the resignation.

Gibson-Marks’ resignation is said to be, among other things, be related to the alleged misappropriation of funds from a trust account set up in 2013, at the St Vincent Cooperative Bank. According to a source, more than $300,000 was withdrawn from that account for a use apart from which it was intended.

Refusing to divulge any information from the report, the Prime Minister said that after reading the document, it was clear that questions had been raised, which needed to be answered.

He noted that the document was in the hands of the relevant institutions, and that he would comment no further on the matter.

“I don’t want to interpose myself… because I don’t want it to appear as though I am putting pressure on anybody in relation to anything with this matter.

“But knowing how institutions of the state work, I would expect that those institutions would follow up in relation to matters raised in the report,” Gonsalves said.

On June 5, Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan filed an application in the High Court for Gibson-Marks to be disbarred because of improper and unprofessional conduct.

In the application, the Attorney General gave three reasons why the former registrar should be disbarred and called on Gibson-Marks to show cause why she should not.

According to court document suit #105 of 2014, the Attorney General, in an affidavit sworn on June 4, said firstly, that Gibson-Marks, as registrar of the High Court, “conducted herself improperly and unprofessionally, in carrying out her professional duty, by misappropriating money,” held in a trust account at the St Vincent Cooperative Bank.

The second reason given is that Gibson-Marks conducted herself improperly and unprofessionally, in the discharge of her professional duty, by writing to the manager of St Vincent Cooperative Bank, requesting that an account established in 1980, pursuant to a court order, be closed, and a cheque be made in the name of the registrar of the High Court.

Thirdly, according to the court document, in early May 2014, the former High Court registrar conducted herself improperly and unprofessionally, in the discharge of her professional duty, “by unlawfully converting moneys for her own use, from a mediation programme of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.”

The Attorney General’s application for Gibson-Marks to be disbarred will be heard before the court on Monday, September 8.

At yesterday’s press conference, the Prime Minister said an affidavit of service had been sent to the Attorney General, indicating that Gibson-Marks had received a copy of Jones-Morgan’s application.