Guyana Returning Officer arrested for electoral fraud

Clairmont Mingo

Guyana Police arrested the Returning Officer (RO) of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, and his assistant, Carolyn Duncan, on elections forgery charges.

Mingo’s arrest comes just five days after the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) announced that a comprehensive investigation will commence into allegations of electoral fraud committed by Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, and others.

Clairmont Mingo and Carolyn Duncan

According to reports, the RO of Region Four was arrested at around 3:45 am at his home located in Abary, Region Five. Sources say that Mingo was escorted Police Head Quarters where up to press time, he remained in police custody. Mingo’s assistant, Duncan, was arrested too.

The pair’s arrest was in relation to serious allegations made of document forgery with the intent to deliver fraudulent results of the March 2 General and Regional Elections.

Attorney-at-law and member of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), Charles Ramson, had filed private criminal charges against Mingo and the People National Congress Reform’s (PNCR) Chairman, Volda Lawrence on March 13. Those charges are in relation to a pair of fraudulent elections declarations for Region Four.

Last Tuesday, Lawrence appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in relation to these charges and was granted bail of $100,000 bail for a joint private criminal charge, which alleges the forging of a document that was used for a fraudulent election declaration on March 5, 2020. Co-accused Mingo was yet to be served with his court summons.

This followed extensive news reports that there were attempts to rig the Guyana elections in mid-March by key players, after Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire ruled that the pair of declarations of the Region Four results made by Mingo were unlawful.

It was clearly detailed that upon a resumption of a tabulation process halted by a slew of circumstances, Mingo returned with a spreadsheet, which showed numbers that could not be verified by observers and party representatives.

PPP/C officials and others protested those results but Mingo went ahead and made his declaration in favour of the then ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC).

These declarations showed Lawrence’s signature. They were challenged in court and the Chief Justice ruled that the RO did not follow the law. As a result, Mingo was sent once more to the drawing board by the judge to produce and declare credible results.

Mingo did go back to the table but again on March 13, produced strange numbers from a tabulation marred by lack of transparency and accusations of elections fraud.

Claims were made by political parties that his declaration was made on inflated Statement of Polls, which he had produced with clumsily doctored numbers.

These claims were later supported with evidence from the National Recount of Votes, which was reported by this publication, that Mingo’s numbers for Region Four were indeed fraudulent.