Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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AG dealing with civil aspect of Calder Hart case
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday clarified his statements over the possible arrest and extradition of former executive chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) Calder Hart, saying he had no say in the criminal prosecution of the case. In a Sunday Guardian article, Ramlogan had commented on Government’s intention to ensure Hart returns to T&T to face several ongoing civil lawsuits over decisions made during his tenure.
However, there was some public debate yesterday that it seemed the AG to be interfering in the criminal side of the matter. In a release sent from his office yesterday, Ramlogan pointed out that while his office was responsible for all civil litigation filed by or against the State, criminal prosecutions were indeed within the remit of the Director of Public Prosecutions. “When asked if charges were laid against Mr Hart, what could be done if he refused to testify, the Attorney General indicated that Mr Hart could be arrested and extradited depending on the charge laid,” the release said.
Ramlogan also said that in civil courts, the State could secure the attendance of a witness by serving them with a summons. “If a witness fails to attend court, he can be committed to prison for contempt of court under part 53:5 of the Civil Proceedings Rules of Court,” the release said.
Hart has been living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since he resigned from Udecott and left the country in 2010. One claim by the State against Hart is for $500 million for the mismanagement of the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium at Tarouba. The other defendants in the case are former Udecott deputy chairman Krishna Bahadoorsingh, former financial manager Ricardo O’Brien and former corporate secretary Neelanda Rampaul. Civil proceedings started after the Uff Commission of Enquiry report, which called for the police to probe Hart for allegedly misspending billions of dollars in Udecott projects across the country.