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Analyst: PM breached Integrity Act
Political analyst Dr Bishnu Ragoonath says the housing accommodation provided by businessman Ralph Gopaul to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was a gift which has to be reported to the Integrity Commission. He said so in response to questions on moves by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to write to the Integrity Commission to investigate the matter. Rowley said Persad-Bissessar was in breach of the Integrity in Public Life Act when she accepted the accommodation at the house in Pasea, Tunapuna.
She stayed at the residence over a six-month period last year, it was reported. “Dr Rowley is correct in that regard. That it is a gift,” Ragoonath said, adding he was not sure the time period required by law for the reporting of that gift to the Integrity Commission had expired as yet. Persad-Bissessar admitted on Tuesday Gopaul and his wife, Maureen, “were friends” of hers and she stayed at his home for more than six months at no additional cost to the taxpayers of T&T.
Gopaul was shortlisted for a $40 million transport contract from state-owned National Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd (NP). At least three Government ministers have said, while Gopaul’s company won the bid, a contract was not awarded as yet. The matter is being probed by an independent team appointed by Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan. The team is expected to submit its report early next week.
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