Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is calling on Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to explain how he managed to construct a six-storey building in Port-of-Spain without securing a mortgage.
Speaking at the United National Congress’ Monday Night Forum at the St Mary’s Government Primary school, Persad-Bissessar also questioned how a particular group in Port-of-Spain had amassed over 150 properties. She also demanded to know who was renting Al-Rawi's building and whether the tenants had benefited from State briefs.
"There is a company registered in the company’s registry by the name of ABOX Investments Limited. This company was incorporated on the ninth of November 2004. I have the company documents right here," she said, holding up a sheaf of papers.
Persad-Bissessar alleged within six weeks of being incorporated, this company bought a parcel of land on December 20, 2004, next to the convent in Port-of- Spain.
"The deed says that this parcel of land in the heart of Port-of-Spain was bought for $750,000. Really Faris! $750,000. I have the deed with me,” she said.
“It was put into the box for $750,000. Now I want to ask you tonight, do you know of any property that is sold in the heart of Port-of-Spain for $750,000.00?"
She said checks as recent as last week showed that there was no mortgage on the property. She noted that in April 2016 another property on 300 square metres of land on Pembroke Street, Port-of-Spain, was bought for $2 million dollars. She claimed that the annual return for this company shows that the shareholders of this company were Al-Rawi and some of his relatives.
"I want to tell the Attorney General tonight to follow that $750,000 because we want to know if that was the real purchase price paid for that property! I want to ask the Attorney General to tell us how this six-storey property in Port-of-Spain was constructed without a mortgage," she added.
She also urged Al-Rawi to disclose who were the tenants of a building at 133 Oxford Street, Port-of-Spain, in which Al-Rawi and his family also had an interest.
"Are they in receipt of lucrative million-dollar State briefs from the office of the Attorney General and government ministries? Are you responsible, Mr Attorney General, for making decisions that place millions of dollars in state briefs in the hands of persons who you share property with?" she added.
Persad-Bissessar urged Al-Rawi to disclose the source of the $2 million that was paid for the property purchased in 2015 on Pembroke Street.
She noted that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has been covering for the AG and could not be trusted. Playing recordings of Rowley, Al-Rawi and PNM MP Marlene Mc Donald, Persad- Bissessar sought to disprove statements made by Rowley.
My financial dealings can withstand scrutiny - AG
But in an immediate response to the T&T Guardian following Senate last night, AG Faris Al-Rawi said Persad-Bissessar was obviously confusing his behaviour with the actions and behaviour of her UNC members.
"I can assure everyone that all of my financial dealings can withstand scrutiny," the AG told the T&T Guardia.
"I can confirm I haven't rented any premises to any lawyers and I never have. I will relish the opportunity to sue her for any libel she commits against me and my family."
On Persad-Bissessar's questions over why there was allegedly no mortgage on the property, he said he isn't apologising for being successful.
"She's obviously panicking on matters she may suspect are imminent, this is a distraction, which can be revealed in due course.