Last update: 11-Dec-2013 3:23 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Trade Ministry grants licences to import ‘Anna’s Range Rover’
Two import and export licences were granted to D&I Management Services Ltd in 2009 to facilitate the importation of a used Range Rover.
The company, which lists Independent Liberal Party deputy political leader Anna Deonarine-Rampersad as its secretary and a director, was granted the first licence on January 26, 2009, for a 2006 used right-hand drive diesel Range Rover pegged at $160,000. This licence, granted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, listed the supplier as Anon Service Car Shipping, Suite 12 Friary Chambers, Friargate Hull, High Street and requested that the vehicle be delivered in May 2009.
By March 26, 2009, that document was quashed and another was granted, listing the supplier as Nadeem Baksh, whose address was only listed as London and carried a price tag of $202,400. This licence, seen by the Sunday Guardian, comes just days after Deonarine took to an ILP platform and denied importing the vehicle. She was reported as saying then that another director at the company was approached by Baksh and told that the Range Rover was already on the port for the past three months.
A senior source at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, yesterday said after reading the media reports and Deonarine’s statement he concluded that “something was not adding up.” The source quoted the Trade Ordinance Act of 1989 saying that there was no way a used vehicle could be on the port before the issue of an import and export licence as it carries an “import negative” rating.
“The person in question would had to have known that they were bringing in the vehicle up to three months before the vehicle landed in the country because once anyone is bringing in a used vehicle they must have the import licence beforehand,” the source said.
“No one can bring in a vehicle without this licence. That takes some time to process because an officer has to visit the importer, make his checks and legitimise the purchase. It is impossible that the person in question did not know about the vehicle before it came into the country. “The Customs Act will not allow that.”
In the past week, attorney Jessica Maicoo acting on behalf of BR International Ltd, a vehicle recovery expert from the United Kingdom, wrote to both Deonarine and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan requesting that the vehicle be returned to the owner in the UK.
The letter, which was sent to the two on Thursday, said while the exact circumstances in which the vehicle was stolen and shipped to Trinidad were unknown, Maicoo was instructed that the vehicle, “which was the subject of a contract hire purchase between Lombard Vehicle Management and one Nabeel Shah was shipped to Trinidad in December 2008, without Lombard Vehicle Management’s knowledge or consent.”
Maicoo noted that “it is confirmed that the vehicle is in the possession of the State,” and called upon “the relevant government department, through the Office of the Attorney General, to hand over the vehicle to us on behalf of Mr Hancock, whom we represent, so that the same may be disposed of according to the direction of the owner.”
The Sunday Guardian understands that while there was no fixed date for response, the company would give Deonarine until the end of next week to reply. Failing that, the law firm will write one more letter requesting a response from Deonarine. The Sunday Guardian also understands that Ramlogan will have to decide whether the vehicle would be shipped back to the UK or remain in Trinidad. Sources within the Attorney General’s office said Ramlogan would give Deonarine time to respond before making a final decision.
Deonarine fails to collect documents from Guardian
When contacted about the import and export documents, Deonarine said she was referring all such information to her lawyers Keith Scotland and Andrew Mitchell, QC. The Sunday Guardian then suggested that the said documents be delivered to her, so she could peruse it with her legal advisers. However, Deonarine asked that the documents be dropped off at her parents’ home in Cunupia.
By 2 pm on Wednesday, Deonarine texted to say that “no one is available to collect any documents” and asked that the reporter stay in touch with her via e-mail. Two attempts were also made to meet with interim party leader Jack Warner on Tuesday and Wednesday but he cancelled because of the party’s campaign plans. When told what the documents contained, he suggested that the Sunday Guardian “do what you have to do.”
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