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AG: Source of funds for Pena remains a mystery
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says there is bound to be “public disquiet” since prophetess Juliana Pena was not interviewed over the source of funding for the construction of a state of the art church Lighthouse of Our Lord Jesus Christ, at Heights of Guanapo, off Arima. Before it was destroyed by vandals, it was estimated to have cost about $30 million.
Ramlogan made this comment in light of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard’s, SC, decision to clear former prime minister Patrick Manning and his prophetess Pena of any “criminal misconduct.” Ramlogan was attending a symposium on Constitutional Reform, at UWI, St Augustine, when he expressed this view. On Friday night, Gaspard had issued a seven-page press release, and he noted according to the police, a forensic audit was being undertaken into the matter on behalf of the Integrity Commission.
Asked about Gaspard’s decision, Ramlogan said, “I respect the decision of the DPP. And I value his impartiality and judgement in these matters. I understand he can only act on the evidence brought before him by the police. He was very careful to explain his decision was based on the evidence that was unearthed by the police in their investigation.”
Ramlogan added, “There is bound to public disquiet about the fact Pena was not interviewed and the source of funds for such a large project remains a bit of a mystery. But that is a matter for the police and not the DPP.” While Ramlogan felt the matter should be allowed to rest out of respect for the independence of the DPP, he noted Gaspard had indicated he would “revisit his decision if additional or new evidence was brought before him.”
Regrello: It’s good for the PNM’s future
Meanwhile, Junia Regrello/chairman of San Fernando West constituency felt Manning’s clearance augured well for the future of the PNM. Basking in the results, Regrello said “I think justice prevailed. People are innocent until proven guilty. And I have confidence in his credibility. If it had been anything different I would have been surprised. I am happy to see the results. It means the PNM is above board. So far, they (PP) have brought nothing to support their accusations.”
Regrello added “It augurs well for the party in the long haul.”
Warner surprised...I wasted my time
National Security Minister Jack Warner/chairman of the United National Congress (UNC) expressed “surprise.” “I am surprised in terms of the conduct of the report. I am surprised at the DPP both at the content and the duration of the inquiry time it took the DPP to make that decision. If in the last three years, he got nothing new, what do you expect in the next 30 years.”
Armed with a photograph, Warner had raised the allegation in Parliament on February 19, 2010. Later on, Manning’s Guanapo cathedral became a bone of contention for the People’s National Movement. It proved to be a boon for Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s People’s Partnership administration who came to power with Manning’s church in its arsenal. “If I knew this would have been the outcome and I had been wasting my time, I never would have raised it,” said Warner.
Manning’s son: I’m not surprised
Asked how he felt about his father being cleared, Brian Manning said, “I have no comment. It’s not a surprise to me that he was cleared. He (Manning) can speak for himself.” But efforts to contact Manning at his home and constituency office proved unsuccessful.
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