The Opposition People’s National Movement trusts that new Integrity Commission chairman, retired judge Zainool Hosein, will be guided by propriety in matters pertaining to any conflict of interest.
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Indictment on T&T—Rowley
Leader of the Opposition Dr Keith Rowley says attempts are being made to cover up the “E-mailgate” investigations being done by the police. Since May last year, Rowley had presented the transcripts of 31 e-mail conversations, which allegedly took place in September 2012 from the addresses of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and other senior ministers.
In presenting a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister in May last year, Rowley claimed the e-mails were part of a plot to tap the phone of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard and intimidate the T&T Guardian reporter who broke news of the early proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Bill 2011, which was proclaimed on Independence Day, August 31, 2012.
It was reported that early proclamation of the legislation would have allowed former financiers of the Government, Steve Furguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh, to escape the corruption charges they were facing before the courts. The legislation was later repealed in an emergency sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate on September 11 and 12, respectively.
In a telephone interview with the Guardian, Rowley said after several months, there has been no determination of guilt or innocence in the matter. He said government ministers had also failed to honour their promise to co-operate with investigators.
He said former acting Deputy Commissioner Mervyn Richardson, who was appointed by acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams to investigate the matter, was an embarrassment to the police and the country, as nothing has happened with respect to the outcome of the investigation, which started in May last year. Richardson has since departed office.
Rowley said he was particularly disturbed that the matter was still unresolved, as the allegations were against senior officials in public administration in the country. He said the matter had not been properly investigated by the police to determine guilt or innocence. “That is an indictment on the country,” he said. Rowley said government officials were attempting to trivialise the e-mails issue in an attempt to cover up their actions.
“This matter is a stain on the country,” he insisted. “If the police in T&T can’t investigate matters of such serious importance, we cannot expect them to properly investigate gang leaders. This is an indictment on T&T.” Rowley said it was clear some people would like the matter involving the 31 e-mails to die, but it won’t.
New head of probe team
Rowley first took the e-mails to former President George Maxwell Richards and months later, he presented them in Parliament in a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister. On the same day, Persad-Bissessar called a news briefing in the Parliament, denying she had any knowledge of the e-mails or of any involvement in any plot.
She said the e-mails were fabricated, adding the ministers named, including herself, were prepared to assist the police in any investigation of the matter.The Prime Minister’s laptop was subsequently taken to the police headquarters but not left. The Prime Minister said because of national security matters she could not leave the devices.
Persad-Bissessar’s then national security adviser, Gary Griffith, who was also named in the e-mails, left his devices with the police for investigation, but AG Anand Ramlogan and cabinet ministers Dr Surujrattan Rambachan and Dr Roodal Moonilal did not co-operate. Contacted on the state of the investigation last week, Williams said the matter was still being investigated by the police. He said ACP for Crime Glen Hackett was now in charge of those investigations.
The Integrity Commission is also proceeding with its investigation into the matter. There was controversy over a decision by the commission to investigate it, as chairman Kenneth Gordon met with Rowley at his home to discuss the matter, before he presented it in Parliament. Despite numerous calls for Gordon to resign because of the meeting with Rowley, he remained in office. Gordon has, however, recused himself in the e-mailgate probe.