Monday 20 August, 2018

Jwala loses case: Found guilty of non-disclosure, inexcusable delay

Judicial review proceedings brought by former Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran have been struck down in the High Court.

Rambarran was fired by Finance Minister Colm Imbert December 2015. Then Deputy Central Bank Governor Alvin Hilaire replaced Rambarran.

In July 2016, Rambarran commenced judicial review proceedings in the High Court to compel the Cabinet to provide him with a Statement of Reasons under the Judicial Review Act concerning the revocation of his appointment as Governor of the Central Bank Governor in December 2015. 

Under the Freedom of Information Act, he sought to gain access to various correspondence between the Minister of Finance, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the President, in relation to the decision of the Cabinet to advise the President to revoke his appointment as Governor, and to access the relevant Cabinet Note and Minute.

On Friday, Justice Nadia Kangaloo dismissed his application for the said Statement of Reasons, finding that there was non-excusable and insurmountable delay on his part.

Rambarran requested the Statement of Reasons, five and a half months after the revocation of his appointment when, Section 16 of the Judicial Review Act provides for such requests to be made within twenty eight (28) days. 

Further, the former Central Bank Governor was found by the Court to be guilty of non-disclosure in filing his claim.

In a statement following his firing he failed to disclose that he had been invited to meetings with the Minister of Finance prior to the revocation of his appointment. Additionally, in his Monetary Policy Forum address earlier that month, Rambarran disclosed the names of major foreign exchange users.

 In delivering her judgment, Justice Kangaloo found it highly incredible that he - could not at this stage - not know the reasons for his dismissal, which were clearly stated in the Affidavit filed by the Minister of Finance.

Regarding his request to view correspondence under the Freedom of Information Act, the Court refused.

The court instead accepted Cabinet’s offer- made in its legal submissions filed on January 11, 2018 - to view the requested Cabinet Note and Minute to aid in its determination of the matter.  

The Court, however, directed that the State produce the said documents under the strict seal of confidentiality.

The Court will then consider same to determine whether there are any portions of it which may be of use to Rambarran and which may be disclosed to him in redacted form. 

Parts of the Cabinet Note and Minute which contain legal opinions considered by the Cabinet would not be disclosed.

 

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