By Marion V.Ali
Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie told reporters on Wednesday that the Elvin Penner case file on the passport/visa scandal is still incomplete and that investigations are ongoing.
Whylie, therefore, maintained that due to the ongoing investigation he cannot turn over the Penner files to anyone just yet.
“If there is a continuing investigation or ongoing investigation it would be prejudicial to release, so we are complying with the law”, he stated.
Regarding Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) need to get a copy of the file to effectively prosecute Penner, Whylie said:
“The issue of the matter going to court is neither here or there. The law is the law, and the law and [based on] the legal advice we have gotten, it cannot be released because it will be prejudicial, so when the investigation is concluded…and the guidance given from the DPP has been completed, then the file will be sent back to the DPP.”
Kareem Musa, attorney for COLA, said Thursday that the Writ of Mandamus that the court placed against Whylie to expedite the investigation and complete it can only force him to carry out the investigation.
“There is no time limit that the judge could have placed on him. He (Whylie) is now using that to his advantage,” Musa added.
He said that it is up to the discretion of the magistrate to order Whylie to comply and that the only recourse now is to attempt to get the material turned over through an application to the magistrate under Section 30 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act.
But while Musa accuses Whylie of dragging his feet, he said that the investigation cannot go on forever. “Whenever it is completed he will have to turn it over to the DPP, who can then institute a fresh charge under Section 178 of the Criminal Code.”
The case against Penner will resume before Belmopan Magistrate, Aretha Ford, on July 24th.
In the absence of those documents, COLA is relying on the preliminary Auditor General Report which was leaked to them last month.
Penner, a former junior minister with responsibility for immigration under the current UDP government, is charged with “vouching the fitness” and “Making a Statement Knowing to it to be False”.
COLA filed the charges on February 28 in Belmopan.