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Integrity Commission: Gafoor failed to prove allegations
Lawyers representing the Integrity Commission yesterday said the commission’s suspended deputy chairman Gladys Gafoor failed to prove the allegations levelled against her fellow commissioners in her ongoing judicial-review lawsuit. Senior Counsel Deborah Peake made the statement while presenting closing submissions in the case before Justice Vasheist Kokaram in the Port-of-Spain High Court.
She claimed Gafoor’s case “fell through” from its inception, as three affidavits Gafoor had presented at an earlier stage in the case contradicted each other. Peake questioned why Gafoor’s legal team declined to cross-examine the three commissioners they had summoned on Monday.
She said the commissioners sought legal advice from in-house attorneys, senior counsel and Gafoor herself before coming to a decision last year relating to her recusal from an investigation. As part of her lawsuit, Gafoor questioned whether the commissioners sought legal advice before making their decision.
Gafoor is challenging the decision on December 21 last year, allegedly forcing her to recuse herself from an investigation concerning former Attorney General John Jeremie. A month earlier, Jeremie wrote to the commission listing three grounds for the recusal of Gafoor and another commissioner, chartered accountant Seunarine Jokhoo.
The other commissioners are chairman Ken Gordon, Prof Ann Marie Bissessar and Neil Rolingston. In her testimony on Monday, Gafoor said she did not consider the grounds presented by Jeremie, as he did not support his claims with evidence.
“I thought there must be support for an objection raised when one is asked to recuse oneself,” Gafoor said. She also said the decision of her recusal was hers and was not for her fellow commissioners to decide. Parallel to her current judicial review suit was a constitutional motion challenging President George Maxwell Richards’ decision to suspend her in January this year, after complaints by her fellow commissioners.
Kokaram dismissed the motion in August. Gafoor appealed the decision. Gafoor’s attorney Clive Phelps will present his client’s closing submissions next Thursday.
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