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Nizam to testify on ‘landing of Libyan plane’
Former speaker of the House Nizam Mohammed who, it was alleged, sought to facilitate the landing of a Libyan aircraft during the July 1990 uprising, is expected to appear at the commission of enquiry into the event on Thursday. Mohammed’s lawyer will cross-examine retired acting clerk of the House Raphael Cumberbatch, who made the allegation while giving evidence in the enquiry at the Caribbean Court of Justice, Port-of-Spain, last Thursday.
Cumberbatch alleged Mohammed tried to get landing rights for the Libyan aircraft shortly after Jamaat al Muslimeen insurgents invaded Parliament around 6 pm on July 27, 1990, and seized Trinidad and Tobago Television and the Trinidad Broadcasting Corporation. The former acting clerk also claimed that soon after the six-day ordeal ended, sometime between August 6 and 8, Mohammed flew to Saudia Arabia on the invitation of a prince.
It was a personal, not a business trip, said Cumberbatch, who said he made the travel arrangements. He said Mohammed, who left Parliament during the 4.30 pm tea break on July 27, was not seen until after the crisis. Cumberbatch also said he was reliably informed that Andy Thomas, who joined the Muslimeen and became Omowale Abdullah, visited Mohammed at the Speaker’s Office on two occasions a few months before the coup.
Mohammed’s attorney will question Cumberbatch on these allegations. Contacted yesterday, Cumberbatch said: “I expect I have to submit to the commission’s wishes. What I said has been uncontested.” On Friday, the hearing will go in camera again. Meanwhile, Mohammed said yesterday he had no comment to make on the allegations that he sought landing rights for a Libyan aircraft during the attempted coup.
In an interview yesterday, Mohammed said he did not know what would have led to the idea that he wanted to land a Libyan plane in Trinidad during the insurrection. “I am not making any comment about this. I don’t know why they said this, and I have nothing to say,” Mohammed said. When he was asked whether he had ever had any connections in Libya, Mohammed’s line went dead. He did not respond to further calls.
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