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Google gets more time to respond to IC court order

Police probe presses ahead
Published: 
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Integrity Commission deputy chairman Justice Sebastian Ventour

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says he has granted e-mail service provider, Google, permission to search his e-mail account for a second time to make it easier for the Integrity Commission to obtain his records. That permission was formally granted on August 25, and with that in hand, Google has now requested an additional month to comply with the commission’s subpoena which was obtained from a federal court judge in California on August 14. 

The new deadline date for Google to comply is set for the last week in September. The T&T Guardian has also learned that the parallel police investigation was also continuing even though Ramlogan provided the results of Google’s search of his account for the month of September 2012. “There is nothing we have seen to suggest that the investigation should not continue,” an investigator close to the case said yesterday.

Deputy chairman at the Integrity Commission Justice Sebastian Ventour, who is heading up this investigation, yesterday confirmed that Google requested and received the extension to comply with the court order. In a brief telephone interview yesterday, Ventour confirmed that its own investigation was continuing despite recent disclosures by Ramlogan. “Google has requested an extension and the Integrity Commission has acquiesced to that,” he said.

Ventour said the commission’s investigation was proceeding. “I don’t see why it should stop our investigation. We have a mandate to investigate matters and that is what we are doing. The Integrity Commission’s investigation will continue,” Ventour said. Ventour confirmed that the commission received the findings from Ramlogan’s lawyers and while he has read it, it did not impact the commission’s mandate. “I don’t see why it should influence our investigation...do you?”

Ventour refused to answer any questions pertaining to the scope of the commission’s investigation. On Sunday, Ramlogan revealed that Google had verified that the e-mails disclosed by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, alleging a criminal conspiracy, were fake and claimed that Google had effectively cleared both him and the Prime Minister of any involvement in the E-mailgate fiasco.

Rowley claimed the documents revealed a criminal conspiracy to harm a journalist, spy on the Director of Public Prosecutions, and get him out of office, in the aftermath of the Section 34 proclamation, which many felt was passed to favour two government financiers charged with a series of fraud offences.

The commission’s investigation centres around the e-mail address “[email protected]” despite the fact that it does not appear on the documents read out by Rowley as part of his motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister last May. That alleged e-mail thread contained correspondence from the e-mail address “[email protected]” as opposed to “[email protected].” 

When asked if it was under the commission’s remit to speculate that the “[email protected]” was a typo or copying error, Ventour said he has no comment to make on that. “There is a line I would not want to cross,” Ventour said. In a telephone interview yesterday, Ramlogan said both he and his lawyers were being “kept in the loop.”

“I instructed my lawyers to advise Google that we have no objection to any form of search of the account so that the application filed by the Integrity Commission can be properly dealt with,” he said. Ramlogan said he welcomed the search as he knew it will result in his continued vindication in this matter. “We have absolutely nothing to hide and nothing to fear,” he said.