scalesofinjusticePrevention of Corruption Act
13  Conflict of interests
(2) Where a public official [Pravind Jugnauth] or a relative [his sister, Shalini Malhotra, and brother-in-law, Dr Malhotra] or associate of his has a personal interest in a decision [buying the abandoned ex-Medpoint Clinic at around 4 times its value] which a public body is to take, that public official shall not vote [which he didn’t] or take part in any proceedings [which he did by signing- which is the most important part of the proceedings] of that public body relating to such decision.

Section 13 (2) is worded in such a way as to leave no place for interpretation. Pravind Jugnauth by signing is the one who validates the deal. The appeal judges have made a political decision and their fancy rhetorics cannot hide it. This verdict should not be surprising as several weeks before it was announced Anerood Jugnauth was bragging publicly that he would soon have his Finance Minister.

Should this aquittal verdict set a precedent it will become practically impossible to convict for conflict of interest anyone who favors a relative. Should it fail to make jurisprudence, its specious nature will be highlighted and with Pravind Jugnauth as the sole beneficiary of this reading of the law its shadow will not leave the Supreme Court.

Note that
1. Although the cheque for Rs144.7 million has been frozen, S.Malhotra has been allowed to cash Rs15.5 million from it.
2. The tender for a acquiring a building to set up a geriatric hospital was launched by Health Minister Rajesh Jeetah, but it was his successor Maya Hanoomanjee (cousin of S.Malhotra) who insisted that Medpoint clinic be valued up and be bought.
3. More than 200 accused have been condemned according to the Intermediate Court’s interpretation of PoCA. With this interpretation of the law most of them are now innocent- though they’ll remain in prison.
4. By claiming that it’s a conspiracy and that P.Jugnauth has been ‘framed’ into signing that cheque they [edited: P.Jugnauth and his connections] are actually pleading stupidity.


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