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Nizam to testify but later
Former speaker of the House Nizam Mohammed will attend the commission of enquiry in the 1990 coup attempt but at a later stage. This was announced by commission lead counsel Avory Sinanan yesterday in response to a T&T Guardian report that Mohammed said he had no intention of testifying.
Mohammed, an attorney, said on Tuesday he could not see himself being available to the commission in the very near future. He said he had not been able to prepare a witness statement because of his busy court schedule. He also planned to seek legal advice on allegations made against him by retired acting clerk of the House Raphael Cumberbatch, he said.
Mohammed also planned to write to the commission to find out if members were seeking the source of all the hearsay evidence that was being publicised and if that source would give evidence, he said. Only then would he decide when he would undertake to cross-examine such witnesses, he said.
Yesterday, however, Sinanan told the commission at the end of the sitting that Mohammed planned to attend the enquiry. He said Mohammed, who was scheduled to attend this morning with his instructing attorneys, could not do so because he was preparing his witness statement and did not think he would be ready in time.
Mohammed gave an undertaking he would come to the enquiry at a later stage, Sinanan said. Commission chairman Sir David Simmons said he was delighted to hear Mohammed was coming voluntarily. Sinanan said if Mohammed does not come then the commission would have to do what it has to do, that was, issue a Salmon letter to him asking him to attend to respond to the allegations.
Simmons said he did not want the commission to draw inferences about people against whom allegations had been made without giving them an opportunity to offer a response. The commission was unable to get alternative witnesses for today and the session has been canceled. Tomorrow, the hearing will be held in camera. That will end hearings until May, after which the enquiry is expected to wrap up.
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