Hearings into a matter involving Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit before the Integrity in Public Office Commission (IPO) have been postponed until further notice.
Public hearings were set to begin on Monday, January 25 but according to a notice of proceedings issued by the IPO, the matter is now postponed.
No date was given as to when the hearings will actually begin.
PM Skerrit is before the commission on a complaint brought by radio personality and journalist Lennox Linton, who claimed that he had used his official influence as chairman of Cabinet to secure concessions for a business concern in which it is alleged that he holds ownership interest.
Hearings on the matter were expected to begin on December 17, 2012, but were pushed back to January 7 after the prime minister’s lead attorney, Senior Counsel Tony Astaphan, and his team, threatened to take the matter to court to seek an injunction to have it quashed.
The lawyers had written to the IPO challenging the legitimacy of two of its members saying the proposed hearings were ‘unlawful.’ They also went to court seeking a judicial review.
The commission subsequently ruled that they (the lawyers) were entitled to be heard and the hearings were pushed back.
However the matter took another turn when it was reported that secret and confidential proceedings before the Commission concerning the prime minister fell into the hands of Linton and read on his radio show.
This prompted an exchange between Linton and Astaphan with Linton accusing the senior counsel of the alleged leak. Astaphan responded by describing the accusation as a ‘cock and bull’ story.
In the face of all this, the IPO ruled that it would be going ahead with hearings since it has the jurisdiction, as entitled by law, to proceed.
However the notice issued by the IPO shows that it has reversed its own decision to have the hearings started.