Privy Council reserves judgement on PNP's appeal in Trafigura caseMonday, March 01, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Judicial Committee of the United Kingdom Privy Council has reserved judgment on the appeal filed by former People's National Party (PNP) officials in the long-running Trafigura case.
After verbal arguments this morning, the hearing was adjourned with the court indicating that it will take time to consider the submission and issue a ruling.
The matter was taken to the Privy Council after the Court of Appeal, in 2017, dismissed an appeal against a Supreme Court ruling that former PNP President Portia Simpson Miller, Phillip Paulwell, Robert Pickersgill, Colin Campbell, and Norton Hinds must testify in open court about a $31-million donation by Trafigura Baheer to the then-governing PNP in 2006.
Dutch authorities want to question the PNP members about the donation made by the Dutch firm, but the five have insisted that they have no information that can assist the Dutch investigation.
Defence lawyers for the five had argued that the judge erred in his ruling and that his ruling was flawed. They also argued that the individuals cannot be compelled to cooperate with requesting foreign states, that the treaties have to be subjected to Jamaican laws that they already indicated they know nothing about alleged bribery in respect to Trafigura, and cannot help the Dutch authorities any further.
But the Court of Appeal, in dismissing the appeal, ruled that the proceedings brought under the Mutual Assistance Criminal Matters Act are subject to the principles of open justice as mentioned in Section 16 (3) of the constitution, and that the ruling of the judge that these proceedings should be conducted in open court is correct in law.
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