Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams says the T&T Police Service (TTPS) did all it could in the search for Shannon Banfield.
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Lawyer: Unearth co-conspirators to evil plot
The e-mails that triggered the 15 month long E-mailgate scandal are fake. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday produced confirmation from Google Inc invalidating the e-mails read out in Parliament by Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley in May last year. Ramlogan was accompanied by his lawyer, Senior Counsel Pamela Elder and his US-based counsel, partner at Computerlaw Group LLP Chris Sargent, on Skype, who explained the legal procedure that led to that determination.
Sargent also said that a “notice of pendency of other action or proceeding” was filed in the same California court yesterday to block the current Integrity Commission legal action against Google as it would be a duplication of the efforts and would provide the same information that is already in hand. The three spoke with the media at the AG’s office on St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain.
Sargent said the notice was electronically filed yesterday and informs the court that the information being sought by the commission from Google has already been provided. Ramlogan said this was just one of the many fouled Rowley-driven conspiracies against him.
“It is my intention to sue Dr Rowley for malicious defamation of character,” Ramlogan said, adding that he would also advise Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the other ministers mentioned in the e-mails to do the same.
He said though Rowley first mentioned the matter in Parliament, where he is protected by parliamentary privilege, he repeated the e-mails on platforms in the public domain.
“I do not buy for one moment that he got them in his letterbox,” Ramlogan said. “It has been a long journey with a cloud of suspicion unnecessarily lurking and hanging over my head. But I am very happy that this revelation and vindication has come.”
Ramlogan described the past 15 months as a “trying time,” saying it was the first time he was ever accused of any criminal wrongdoing. Elder described the e-mails as “forged” and “diabolical.”
“The essence of those documents, the meat of it, is that those documents which were passed off, which were laid in the House by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, they are not authentic,” she said.
“Not only are they not authentic, they did not emanate from the e-mail account of the Honourable Prime Minister of T&T and the Honourable Attorney General,” Elder said. She said they had been saying from inception that the first course of action should be to access the servers and not the private computers of the Prime Minister, the Attorney General or the other ministers.
“I would be immediately writing to the acting Commissioner of Police, the Integrity Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions to do all that is necessary to unearth the co-conspirators to this evil plot,” she said.
Elder said she would send a copy of the Google documents to Rowley. “That is the proper thing to do, let him read for himself, and we await his response,” she said.
Sargent said the notice to block the Integrity Commission was sent to its US-based lawyers and the judge responsible for the case. That notice to the California court, which Ramlogan provided, says Ramlogan’s query to Google was more detailed and requested more information on the e-mails than that of the Integrity Commission.
“The Integrity Commission, which seeks similar discovery related to its investigation of Mr Ramlogan and Mrs Persad-Bissessar, has only now embarked upon this process,” that document states.
Google confirms: E-mails not located
Google’s response, signed by its Custodian of Records, Chi Nguyen, stated that the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org was an active account but that Google was “unable to locate records showing e-mails received from or sent to the accounts.”
“Google certifies that it has located no e-mails sent to or from the Google apps account email@example.com to or from the gmail account firstname.lastname@example.org on September 2012,” the document noted.
That document also shows that Ramlogan leveraged on Google on August 26, 2013 “seeking information related to a series of alleged e-mail accounts and e-mails allegedly sent from and to those accounts.”
When Ramlogan was asked why he chose not to divulge that information then, Elder said it was she who instructed him to remain quiet on the issue up until now.
Google, according to the document, searched all the e-mails relating to the Prime Minister and Ramlogan mentioned that Rowley read out in May 2013 as part of his motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister. The search included email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com@gmail.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.
In a text exchange with the T&TGuardian yesterday, Dr Keith Rowley said he has “no interest in the private affairs of Mr Ramlogan.”
“To the best of my knowledge when the information was introduced in the Parliament there was a request for an investigation. It has since been revealed that there was a police investigation for over a year and more recently an investigation by the Integrity Commission. These are the State’s efforts. I will be guided by that,” Rowley said.
Commission chairman: No comment
In a brief interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Integrity Commission chairman Ken Gordon said he would not be able to comment until he saw the documents.
“This is the first I am hearing of it. I have to see the documents before I make a comment,” Gordon said. When asked whether the T&T Guardian could have them delivered to him, he declined. “I am sorry, I am unavailable today,” he said.
On May 19, 2013 Dr Rowley filed a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister, reading a series of damning e-mails that he claimed had been dropped in his mailbox. The e-mails implicated the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and Local Government Minister in several conspiracies and cover-ups against the DPP, a plot to harm a journalist and payments to an unnamed person.
The alleged e-mail thread included the Prime Minister, the Attorney General, current Minister of National Security Gary Griffith, Local Government Minister Dr Surujrattan Rambachan and Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal
Persad-Bissessar and Ramlogan admitted to owning each of the e-mail addresses but denied ever being involved in any conspiracy. They also denied any knowledge of the e-mails. Persad-Bissessar referred the matter immediately to the acting Commissioner of Police, who then assigned deputy commissioner of police Mervyn Richardson to the case.
In the months that followed the case dominated the media, eventually fading until the Integrity Commission by-passed the local Central Authority and secured a US-based attorney to sue Google for the information earlier this month.