Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
Bank account open to cops
Opposition senator Fitzgerald Hinds yesterday welcomed a probe by the police or the Integrity Commission into the value and acquisition of his Maraval home, saying he had authorised the financial agencies he does business with to open his records to scrutiny. In doing so, however, Hinds called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to take similar action and also to allow police access to their Google accounts in the ongoing Section 34 e-mail probe.
In the Senate on Monday, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan claimed Hinds’ home was worth $14 million and asked him how many children from Laventille he had invited to “swim in his pool or eat from his marble table.”
Hinds broke his silence on the property issue yesterday, after four days of refusing to answer questions from the media. He knocked the AG’s suggestions that he had acquired his house through illegal means. As a result, he said he had no problems in opening up his financial records to the scrutiny of either the police or the Integrity Commission.
“I have authorised my bank, the First Citizens Bank, Park Street, Port-of-Spain, to make available, to any authorised police officer, from commissioner to the last-joined recruit; and/or any authorised official from the Integrity Commission, from chairman to clerk, all my bank details and records regarding the obtaining, payment and balance of my mortgage facility,” Hinds wrote in a release sent to the media.
He said he was confident this action would demonstrate a “straight and clear path” to his family’s ownership and acquisition of their home. “The Eastern Credit Union can speak to the acquisition of the land in 1998. They too are authorised,” Hinds said. “I bought the land on which my house sits as an Opposition MP. The construction of the building straddled my time in government and being out of Parliament and politics altogether, between 2004 and 2010. I am still developing my house.”
He also said there was no swimming pool at the house, in Hillsboro, Maraval. Hinds said he continued to be heavily indebted in respect of his property and would continue to “work hard and honestly” to meet his obligations. “I call on the Attorney General to set the public record straight and retain the services of a valuator, in order to obtain a real value of my house, if indeed he is really so interested. This would correct the ‘value’ he foolishly put on it whilst on his legs on the floor of the Parliament,” Hinds said.
He also slammed the media for “allowing themselves to be used by Ramlogan” and said news outlets had carried amplified stories of Ramlogan’s statements about the value of his property. “It is, in my view very unfortunate, that the Attorney General and his media enthusiasts will use my house as a place to hide behind his inability to explain his tremendous wealth-acquisition within recent years.”
PM, AG must open Section 34 records
Hinds further called on Ramlogan, who he said had publicly admitted “acquiring three properties valued at several million dollars in upscale communities,” and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to do as he was doing and show how they had acquired their properties, whether acquired before or after assuming ministerial office.
He also called on all the government officials involved in the Section 34 e-mail probe to allow those investigating the matter—the police and the Integrity Commission—to allow them access to their files.
“I also call upon the Attorney General, the Prime Minister and others involved in the e-mail/Clause 34 investigation, to do like me and authorise Google or other respective Internet service-providers, to make available to the police and the Integrity Commission, all their Internet records relevant to that investigation. A user can so authorise and I have a precedent which Google has accepted in the past; and which I am willing to make available to them all,” Hinds said.
Efforts to contact Ramlogan last night were unsuccessful as calls to his cellphone went unanswered.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.