Last update: 19-Dec-2013 7:24 am
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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NP cleared of Gopaul allegations
The board of directors of the National Petroleum Marketing Company Limited (NP) yesterday was cleared of any wrong-doing by the Integrity Commission. In August 2011, the commission sought to get information from NP after allegations arose that Gopaul and Company had been awarded a $40 million contract to transport fuel for the State-owned company.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar later admitted she was friends with Ralph Gopaul, owner of Gopaul and Company, and stayed at his private residence in Tunapuna before and after the general election in May 2010. In a letter from the commission’s registrar, Martin Farrell, sent to NP’s chairman Neil Gosine on September 19, the commission said it discontinued the investigation after determining there were insufficient grounds for continuing it. It was on that basis the commission decided to terminate the probe.
The letter added: “Having examined all the evidence and legal submissions made by the concerned parties the commission has, in accordance with the provision of Section 34 (6) of the Integrity in Public Life Act Chap 22:01, determined there are insufficient grounds for continuing the investigation and decided to terminate same.”
Farrell also quoted the legislation which states that during the course of an investigation if the commission is satisfied that there are insufficient grounds for continuing the investigation in that the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, or not made in good faith, it may terminate the investigation. Gosine had also declined to respond to claims from Opposition PNM Senator Fitzgerald Hinds that NP had refused to provide him with documents he sought under the Freedom of Information Act pertaining to the award of the alleged contract.
In February this year, Gosine’s home in Valsayn was firebombed. Responding yesterday, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said: “This was an indication that the Prime Minister is vindicated and it removes any doubt about her integrity as she was the centre of these malicious allegations involving the Gopaul family.
“A previous complaint was dismissed by the Integrity Commission regarding her stay at the Gopaul’s residence and now the allegations that she was improperly trying to influence the award of a contract at NP has fallen flat on its face.”
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