Dutch officials want to question Simpson Miller, PNP Chairman Robert Pickersgill, former Cabinet ministers Phillip Paulwell and Colin Campbell, as well as businessman Norton Hinds in relation to a $31-million donation to the PNP in 2006 by the Dutch firm Trafigura Baheer.
But Queen’s Counsel KD Knight and Patrick Atkinson both argued yesterday in the Court of Appeal, where they are contesting the 2011 Supreme Court judge ruling for the party members to be interrogated in open court, that questions and answers are done in privacy in Jamaica and outside of the public glare to preserve fairness at proceedings and trials.
Both attorneys pointed out that under Jamaican law, as well as the Mutual Assistance Criminal Matters Act, the appellants cannot be compelled to give witness statements to authorities in The Netherlands.
Added to that, they indicated that the questioning was a part of a Dutch investigation into a case of alleged bribery by Trafigura and that the appellants have already indicated that they do not know anything about the alleged bribery.
Therefore, Knight told the court, “It is an exercise in futility, unless these appellants voluntarily give evidence. These proceedings should be interred because they are dead.”
Knight also argued that the ruling made by Supreme Court judge, Justice Lennox Campbell for the Trafigura matter to be heard in open court is flawed, as the judge misinterpreted the proceedings to be a hearing when they were not.
The matter, which is being heard before President of the Court Appeal Dennis Morrison and justices Hillary Phillips and Patrick Brooks, will resume today with submissions from Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Andrea Martin-Swaby.