BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (Friday 6th March 2020)- Two public figure lawyers, Lindsay Grant and Jonel Powell, currently have a fresh issue to contend with following the latest development in a ruling by high court judge Justice Eddy Ventose to have both men appear before disciplinary committee concerning the misappropriation of client’s funds in the amount of US$460,000 involving claimant Tanzania Tobing Tanzil.
Powell in an interview with WINNFM this week, whilst maintaining their innocence on the matter, said he and Grant are surprised by the new development.
“We have seen the recent ruling on this very serious matter and we are very surprised by this new development to say the least. To date, we have not had any opportunity to be heard in these proceedings and as such we have instructed senior council to deal with this matter expeditiously. We are confident that at the end of the day we will be vindicated as we have done nothing wrong and we expect the rule of law to prevail.”
Included in the contents of the ruling delivered on Wednesday 4th March 2020-found on the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court at www.eccourts.org, the hearing of the assessment of damages is set for 19 May 2020 at 1:00 p.m.
Additionally, regarding details about a Disciplinary Tribunal, it is explained that: “ The whole conduct of the Defendants (as outlined in paragraphs - above) leading to the filing of the claim form in this matter shall be considered by a disciplinary tribunal comprising at least two High Court Judges of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court for the purpose of determining whether the Defendants should be suspended from practicing for a specified period or be struck off from the Court Roll, pursuant to section 81 of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (St. Christopher and Nevis) Act CAP 3.11 of the Revised Laws of Saint Christopher and Nevis.”
Specific timeframes on the matter highlight that “There shall be established within 60 days of today’s date such a disciplinary tribunal by the Registrar of the High Court, in consultation with the Judicial and Legal Services Commission” and also “The Registrar of the High Court shall serve this order on the Secretary of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission within 14 days of today’s date.
Under the heading of ‘Misappropriation and Professional Misconduct’ in the high court’s document, it is stated that “Misappropriation by an Attorney-at-Law of client funds is a serious matter.”
There are three (3) listed areas in dealing with such: “First, it can be the subject of civil proceedings for misappropriation and or breach of trust and or breach of fiduciary duties as occurred in the instant case. Second, it can be the subject of a disciplinary complaint by the former client to the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Association of Saint Christopher and Nevis, or the subject of disciplinary proceedings under the common law jurisdiction by two High Court Judges. Third, it is a criminal offence of larceny contrary to the provisions of Larceny Act CAP 4.16 of the Revised Laws of Saint Christopher and Nevis.”
Grant is the Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce and Powell is an Ambassador at Large of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Ministries of Sport and Culture who sits on the St.Kitts Music Festival Committee as Chairman of the Artistes Selection and Production Committee. Both are partners in Grant, Powell & Co. with Minister Grant on leave.
Additionally, the two are top officials of the People’s Action Movement (PAM) which is part of the ruling government three-member coalition with Grant being the Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Four and Powell as Party Chairman.
The topic continues to a hot one in the public and is subject for party-political critics who join the opposition St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party in saying that both men should resign from their governmental portfolios.