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A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Member of Member of Parliament Ganesh Mahipaul has appealed his dismissal from the Public Service.
Mahipaul, who served as a Community Development Officer under the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, filed his appeal on Monday to the Public Service Appellate Tribunal.
He was reportedly dismissed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) from his government post for allegedly breaching his oath of office and leaking “state secrets” though his case was never heard by the Commission’s Disciplinary Tribunal Committee.
In the Appeal seen by Village Voice News, Mahipaul told the Appellate Tribunal that he was dismissed without any reasons being cited. The dismissal letter dated March 5, 2021 was expected to take effect on May 8, 2021, however, after Mahipaul filed his appeal, he was subsequently informed that his dismissal was with effect from March 8, 2021.
Mahipaul told the Appellate Tribunal that the dismissal is a breach of his constitutional rights.
“…the dismissal was in contravention of Article 38 G (3) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana which provides that no public officer shall be the subject of sanctions of any kind without due process and since the principles of natural justice were not applied in that the Appellant was not given a fair hearing,” Mahipaul said as he laid down the grounds for which he appealed his dismissal.
Though a three-member tribunal was tasked by the Public Service Commission to hear Mahipaul’s case, the hearing was never conducted.
On Monday, March 16, 2021, Mahipaul received his dismissal letter dated March 5, 2021.
The letter seen by Village Voice News reads: “The Public Service Commission, at its Special meeting held on 2021-03-05, after careful consideration of the matter, has decided that you should be and you are hereby dismissed from the Public Service with effect from 2021-05-08, inclusive in accordance with the Public Service Rules.”
The letter was signed by Commission’s Secretary, Jaigobin Jaisingh.
In a letter dated November 3, 2020, the Local Government Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Prema Ramanah Roopnarine laid four charges – violation of an oath or affirmation of office, two counts of absent from duty without leave or adequate excuse, and divulging official information of a secret or confidential nature where the duties do not require a public servant to do so – before Mahipaul.
However, Mahipaul has always maintained that the charges are politically motivated and are baseless and without merit.
Mahipaul was accused of causing himself to be named as a candidate on the APNU+AFC List of Candidates for the 2020 General Elections, when such constitutes a breach and violation of his oath of office to be impartial.
But Mahipaul, while denying all four charges, said he took no such oath. “First of all, I [have] never signed an oath of office; I was never presented with such,” he had said in an earlier interview.
But that aside, Mahipaul said the charge amounts to a breach of his constitutional right as a citizen of Guyana, as he referenced to Article 147 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana.
“So clearly the constitution gives me that right to be affiliated with a political party, and to claim that I put my name on a List of Candidates in violation of some oath of office, which I have never seen, I think is out of order, and it violates my constitutional right as a Guyanese to associate with a political party,” Mahipaul contended.
Another charge, alleges that he “leaked” of state “secrets.” It is alleged that on August 10, 2020, Mahipaul published confidential information of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development on his Facebook page.
“The information being services provided by Design Unlimited for the production of business cards, compliment slips and design and installation of a sign board for the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development,” the Permanent Secretary explained, while claiming that Mahipaul breached the Public Service Rules. But Mahipaul, in arguing that there is no breach, described the charge as “frivolous.”