What was a million-dollar painting doing hanging in the Attorney General’s Ministry from the previous administration?
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said he raised that question when the Ministry’s permanent secretary had pointed out to him that the Ministry had to insure a painting for a $1m.
Speaking during Monday’s Senate debate of the “Explain Your Wealth” bill, Al-Rawi said, “I asked, ‘What are we doing with a million dollar painting?’”
He said he subsequently found out it was a painting which was given back to T&T by the US Government under the Proceeds of Crime Act relating the Piarco Airport corruption case - and it was placed in the AG’s office under the tenure of former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
“That kind of asset won’t be hanging on my wall, it will be put with the Civil Assets Trustee (listed in the ‘Explain Your Wealth Bill).”
There, he said, it should be properly placed with the repatriation of such items.
On the “Wealth” bill, Al-Rawi said matters by investigating authorities will not be launched on the basis of suspicion alone, but via a gradual process from enquiring authorities taking matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions onwards to an independent Civil Assets Trustee and court.
Tax aspects to be examined would only pertain to matters up to six years ago since people may not have kept tax information longer than that. He also said the property could be recovered if it belongs to a legitimate third party.