Case details

Director of Public Prosecutions (Appellant) v Jugnauth and another (Respondents) (Mauritius)

Case ID: JCPC 2018/0030

Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court of Mauritius

Case summary

Issue(s)

What is the correct interpretation of section 13(2) and (3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002, which creates an offence where a public official takes part in the proceedings of a public body relating to a decision in which they or their relative has a personal interest?

Facts

Mr Jugnauth was Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development in Mauritius between May 2010 and July 2011.

In March 2010, the Mauritian Government approved a project for setting up a National Geriatric Hospital. On 3 June 2010, Medpoint Ltd submitted a bid for the project. Medpoint is a company that was incorporated in 1990, at which point Mr Jugnauth was a director and secretary, holding 50 shares. In 1994 he resigned as director and secretary but retained his shareholding. His sister was also a director and shareholder and by 2010 she held 23.59% of the company’s shares. Mr Jugnauth took no part in the deliberations leading to the decision to award the contract to Medpoint, the valuation of the project at Rs 144,701,300, or the decision that payment would be due by 31 December 2010 as part of the 2010 budget.

On 22 December 2010, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life (‘MOHQL’) made a request to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (‘MOFED’) for the budget funds to be made available from MOFED’s Lottery Fund. After internal discussions at MOFED, it was concluded that, as the project is of a capital nature, it should instead be paid for out of identified savings of Rs 200 million on capital projects in MOHQL’s 2010 budget. On 23 December 2010, Mr Jugnauth approved this reallocation of budget funds in his capacity as Minister of Finance.

Mr Jugnauth was subsequently arrested and charged with taking part in the proceedings of a public body relating to a decision in which his relative had a personal interest, contrary to section 13(2) and (3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002. On 30 June 2015, Mr Jugnauth was convicted of that offence by the Intermediate Court. The Supreme Court allowed his appeal against conviction, on the basis that the Magistrates erred in their interpretation of the mental element of the offence and of the meaning of ‘personal interest’, and in holding that it was not necessary to prove any actual conflict of interest, only a perception of bias.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Director of Public Prosecutions of Mauritius

Respondent(s)

Pravind Kumar Jugnauth

Appeal

Justices

Lord Kerr, Lord Carnwath, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales

Hearing start date

15 Jan 2019

Hearing finish date

15 Jan 2019

Watch hearing
15 Jan 2019 Morning session Afternoon session