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Maharaj on e-mail probe: AG must be consistent
Be consistent. This was the advice given by former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, to incumbent AG Anand Ramlogan. Maharaj has accused Ramlogan of being inconsistent in the ongoing investigation into the 31 e-mails presented by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in the House last month.
The e-mails were purported to be from addresses belonging to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Ramlogan, Local Government and Works and Infrastructure Minister Suruj Rambachan and national security adviser to the PM, Gary Griffith, and addressed the Section 34 fiasco, offering the Director of Public Prosecutions a judgeship and the intimidation of a journalist who broke the story.
Persad-Bissessar and her Government have denied any knowledge of the e-mails but the PM wrote to acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams asking that it be probed. Williams in turn mandated his deputy Mervyn Richardson to head the probe. Last Thursday during a post-Cabinet press conference, Ramlogan said he was uncomfortable handing over his devices to the police, saying he preferred they bring in an international IT expert to view his devices.
Ramlogan had said: “If the Police Service selects an international IT expert whose reputation, credentials and credibility are beyond question, I will give them all the devices”. Maharaj, however, said the AG was “being very inconsistent with his response and attitude to an investigation. “He initially resisted the calls from different sections of the community to have an international independent investigation,” Maharaj said, noting that on numerous occasions the AG had said local law enforcement was capable of doing the investigation.
“He made speeches in and out of Parliament condemning those who were opposed to the police doing this investigation,” Maharaj said, noting that now the time has come for the devices to be handed over, Ramlogan is now making excuses. “I think the AG is really playing games with a very serious matter and he should set the example in the country for having an independent and impartial investigation into the e-mails,” Maharaj said. “As a citizen of T&T, I am fed-up of the lies, lies and lies of this government.”
The senior counsel said when Rowley spoke in Parliament, he never said the documents presented were e-mails but “a compilation of e-mails.” Maharaj said the issue now was whether the names mentioned in the compilations sent or received the messages, and if that was proven to be so then the compilation constituted evidence of a serious conspiracy.
In that context, Maharaj said, it was important for Ramlogan, Persad-Bissessar, Rambachan and Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal to give written consent for Google and “all the service providers to disclose information in their accounts.” By doing that, Maharaj said, it would show the implicated individuals were serious and genuine about the investigation. He said as a spectator looking on, “the way some of these ministers are behaving about this issue makes me feel there is something they are afraid of.”
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