Newly-appointed Housing Development Corporation (HDC) chairman Rabindra Moonan says he cannot comment on whether the HDC would ask line minister, Dr Roodal Moonilal, to return the leased Range Rover HSE he has been using.Moonan made the comment in a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian in response to questions over whether Moonilal had returned the vehicle after promising to do so last week."I have no information on that and I cannot comment," he said.
Asked whether the HDC would be making moves to retrieve the vehicle from Moonilal, the chairman said: "I have not been into the HDC as yet to find out or have discussions with regard to HDC issues".On whether the issue of the luxury Range Rover will be brought up at the next HDC meeting, he said: "No, we have much more important things to discuss."
Last week during a tour at Cypress Gardens, Union Hall, San Fernando, Moonilal said he planned to return the vehicle to the HDC, stating that his own security and that of his family had been compromised as a result of the newspaper story which had raised the matter.
The Range Rover HSE had been leased from Furness Car Rentals for a three-year period, the T&T Guardian had learnt. The HDC pays a monthly bill of $24,150 for the vehicle, while the total lease agreement for the three-year period is $869,400. The lease took effect in February 2011 and ends in February 2014.The Range Rover has also been customised to include blue police strobe lights at the centre of the front grill and at the rear of the vehicle. A police siren has also been installed.
In a previous interview when asked about the decision to lease such an expensive vehicle, Moonilal had told the T&T Guardian, "The Rover is very sturdy. The vehicle was provided as a lease vehicle in keeping with (the) practice before to provide vehicles to ministers."I also use other vehicles depending on work requirements. As for choice, Rover is strong and equipped for the terrain. You seldom see a Rover in highway accidents."