About Nandanee Soornack’s case: another one bites the dust

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The verdict of the Italian Supreme Court in the extradition case of Mrs Soornack is a personal victory for her. She must be rejoicing and celebrating in Bologna. Meanwhile, back in Mauritius, someone must be having a big smile on his face; probably puffing a cigar and sipping a delicious glass of Blue Label whisky.

Victory for one means defeat for another. In this case, it is a personal defeat for the Honourable Attorney General (AG). He was ill-advised to get so personally involved in the extradition procedures. In the loneliness of Kensington Palms, he must be silently licking his wounds. One can almost feel for him. To say that this disastrous outcome was so predictable is an understatement. Any person with a dose of common sense and fairness could have seen this coming from miles away. Anyone who dares say otherwise is either wearing blinkers or is intellectually dishonest.

Kensington Palms: the same place where, one famous evening, Dufry directors were duly convened for dessert after a copious meal at West Inn Hotel. Poor things, little did they know that dessert would comprise of, among other things, sequestration, threats, extortion and of course, the oft-abused objection to departure.

One basic principle underscoring extradition procedures and which is jealously preserved by courts of law, be it in Mauritius or elsewhere in the world, is that the person whose extradition is being sought will be treated fairly and will not be subjected to political persecution of any kind. Another very important aspect of extradition is that it is not obtained by the mere asking. Tedious and costly procedures must be followed. This is why it is usually reserved for the gravest of crimes, such as killings, crimes against humanity, serious sexual offences, massive financial crimes, etc.

It would appear that one of the two cases on which the extradition of Mrs Soornack was sought was the Roches-Noires case. The degree of her involvement in that case remains to be seen. Suffice it to say that this was a simple case of “Effecting Public Mischief”, rarely (if ever) punished by a term of imprisonment. The community service meted out to another protagonist in this case serves as a good example. Surely, this was not one of those cases involving the gravest of crimes for which the extradition of Mrs Soornack had to be obtained by all available means, at the costs of taxpayers’ money?

The other case is the Dufry case. In this case, it is alleged that massive commissions had been unlawfully paid in exchange for lavish contracts at the Mauritius Duty Free Paradise. Is there evidence to show that this is so? And if so, where does it come from? From the same self-confessed accomplice who got community service in the Roches-Noires case? Surely not, because if this was so, then one would have expected the self-confessed accomplice to have been provisionally charged, right? Unless, of course, he is again benefitting from some special treatment akin to his casual visit to Line Barracks on a Sunday, in the wake of the revival of the Roches-Noires affair.

“When politicians interfere with our criminal justice system, we, the taxpayers, are the ones who pay the price.”

What is evident is that evidence of illegal commissions must not have been forthcoming from that self-confessed accomplice. Which explains the grotesque episode that occurred at Kensington Palms and the attempted threats and extortions that followed. But when senior Ministers, including the Honourable AG, who, the least we can expect of him, is that he upholds the rule of law, resort to the type of behaviour that occurred on that night in question, can we honestly look at the Italian judges straight in their face and tell them that Mrs Soornack will not be treated unfairly and will not be subjected to any form of political persecution?

What is sad about all this is that real criminals are going to get away scot-free because of political involvement in what should have been independent and impartial criminal enquiries. Enquiries which, by any stretch of procedural fairness, ought not to have been conducted in the house of a sitting AG, a political appointee. So they have only themselves to blame for this. To add insult to injury, our former KGB minister has now discovered that he can no longer trust ICAC and CCID, so he will not go to them with his compromising dossiers, which are for the moment under lock and key in a coffer in cyberspace. The same KGB minister who was present at Kensington Palms when Dufry directors were being sequestrated, threatened and extorted. What was sauce for the gander, back then, no longer seems to be sauce for the goose now. The persecutor has miraculously transformed into a persecuted victim.

When politicians interfere with our criminal justice system, we, the taxpayers, are the ones who pay the price. We are the real victims here. They are having a field day playing their vengeful games of settling scores at the expense of our hard-earned money. They have no care in the world for the likes of you and me. They are here just to have a good time. In the meantime, all we can do is keep watching, while a few more bite the dust. If this is any consolation…


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