Following is the excerpt from the Hansard in which Oropouche East MP Roodal Moonilal linked Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to a purported financial transaction involving A&V Drilling. The allegation was made during his contribution to the Budget debate on Tuesday night.
But another major matter that emerged is this famous or infamous AV Drilling. AV Drilling and that crisis that we faced there is not delinked from the crisis at Petrotrin. Connect the dots; $100 million, fake oil, suddenly refinery closed—only refinery closing. Then “mind change”, entire Petrotrin closing, all workers must go. “AV Drilling matter” is the subject before a DPP and, we believe, the police. Records, documents, witness or workers’ statements are all with Petrotrin. It must be with Petrotrin. Cabinets have to move; “dey” closing down, they have to secure. What about mothballing? We heard about mothballing. So when they take the decision on Petrotrin they came to this House, and every time we asked, “dey say dat is Petrotrin business, dat is de board. Dat is not de Government, yuh know. Petrotrin board doing dat.” When Petrotrin’s board goes to the Industrial Court, the Attorney General “say, ‘I want to be in dat too’”. All of a sudden is not “de” board. He want to be in “dat” too. He wanted to get locus. But he is a locus in that matter—do not belong there.
So, Madam Speaker, AV Drilling. A company linked to AV Drilling in South Trinidad declares bankruptcy and “close down”—Andrew Jokhan. You all know that.
Company closed down, AV Drilling in trouble, Prime Minister declared that the principal there is his best friend and so on, and that is fine, no problem. We all have best friends. Petrotrin now, from restructuring into business units, closed down.
Madam Speaker, when you have severance pay for people at Petrotrin and they are owed what could be some dollars, you think anyone of them is going before a court to speak against Petrotrin in that matter with AV Drilling? Witness is gone, documents—when you are closing down, offices do not stay the same, it is not like people disappear from the office. You move files, you move furniture, you get this out, you get that out. I mean, it is a complete hauling of all things, files have to go, go missing.
And, Madam Speaker, I have always been questioning this matter as to why we will go in that direction with AV Drilling? But, you see, we made the connections between AV Drilling and another company in south that went into bankruptcy. We made the connection between AV Drilling and, you know, two persons have disappeared from the scene over that crisis, that matter, one is actually a former Senator. Everybody forgot that there was a Senator who proudly represented the Government, and then disappeared in the aftermath of the revelation by the Member for Siparia. But somebody else disappeared, and everything I find—the Member for Siparia faced a candidate on two occasions in Siparia. He disappeared too, not on the night of the election defeat, but he disappeared as well from the scene, one by the name of Vidya Deokiesingh. I could call his name, he is not a Member of Parliament. He disappeared from the scene, and nowhere he could be found, this man. He was responsible for all the charts, and doing this, and for putting up the data and so on.
So Madam Speaker, clearly, if you have an investigation, the principals of AV Drilling will be cleared, companies associated with them. You know, I call on the Attorney General, the Member for San Fernando West. As I said, Attorney General, in your absence there is something small about you to admire, and that is this “follow the money” business, and I had never looked at the world like that but I now do it.
So in AV Drilling, linked to company in south, bankruptcy; linked to two people, one in the Senate, gone; employee of Petrotrin disappears. Now, he probably has severance pay to get too. He was an employee of Petrotrin, cannot be found. But you know what is amazing, Madam Speaker? There are also cheques paid to another individual, and I can call the name as well because the person is not in the House or anything. There are strange cheques paid to an individual off an account of AV Drilling. And I will not display, Madam Speaker, so you do not have to worry about that.
But, Madam Speaker, at or around the same time of 22 June, 2017 and 21 June, 2017—so let us get it, 21st June and 22nd June, cheque from AV Drilling made out to one Persad Rohit. Cheque from Jokhan General Contractors the day after. The first cheque $1.5 million. Now, this is an individual, eh. This is not an organization or a business, this is a human being; $1.5 million from AV Drilling.
Next day, same Persad Rohit, $2.69 million from Jokhan Construction. What is the link between Persad Rohit, AV Drilling, Jokhan and huge amounts of moneys, and we can say here, $4 million over two days by way of cheques. Deokiesingh has gone, but you see, Madam Speaker, one day, almost I think in a humorous way, the Member for Port of Spain North/St. Ann’s West, my very dear friend from Port of Spain North/St. Ann’s West—now Minister of something, National Security—he jokingly said to me that he understood I was going to Miami a lot and the Americans he said, or somebody was interested in my travel. So today I want to explain to him the nature of my travel.
You see, Madam Speaker, I did journey on a few occasions because I had wind of something. And I had information that pointed me to a bank in Florida, C&C International Trading, Regions Bank, account number: 0229459435; ABA:062005690; swift code: UPNBUS44MIA; 8200 North West 36th St., Doral, Florida, 33166—the bank.
Madam Speaker, this bank has documents at the bank to a beneficiary account number, IBAN, foreign, with a number 114515. No purpose of funds, so it is a transfer document beneficiary recipients, no purpose of funds, but additional instructions for attention. There are two names here, one is Vidya Deokiesingh and a bank in Florida. Now, what would this Petrotrin employee be doing with banking business in Florida? What?
The second name I cannot call in the Parliament. I cannot. The second name I cannot call. But you see, Madam Speaker, I cannot call the second name, but I asked a week or two ago, I asked the Member for Diego Martin West whether he had any interest in AV Drilling and he wanted to fight me. [Desk thumping] He said, “Come outside on the pavement”. Today, I tell him, come inside in the House. [Desk thumping]
Madam Speaker, Vidya Deokiesingh and another name which I cannot call, is here on a piece of paper before me with a beneficiary account, Formula One Trading. Madam Speaker, all I am asking to Vidya Deokiesingh and another unnamed person is, “What business did you have with Vidya Deokiesingh”?
Mr. Al-Rawi: I am terribly sorry to interrupt.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Is there a Standing Order of relevance?
Mr. Al-Rawi: 48(6).
Dr. R. Moonilal: 48(6).
Mr. Al-Rawi: You see, Madam Speaker, if you would consider it, if you wish me
to elucidate what I am referring to, I will be happy to, but I do not want to offend
you. May I?
Madam Speaker: You may.
Mr. Al-Rawi: Madam Speaker, my learned friend is going down a road of imputing an improper motive because he has linked squarely, and this is skirting the responsibility of taking ownership for a very serious allegation. It is why we have said on repeated occasions, say what you have to say and own it so that, at least, the other exercise of privilege may be levelled equally because it is extremely dangerous to raise allegations of this kind and not have it clear, but rather have imputation of the type that our Standing Orders offend. So it is either my friend, the hon. Member says what he has to say so that we may exercise full privilege against him or he withdraws the entire argument. [Crosstalk]
Madam Speaker: Hon. Member for Oropouche East.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Yes, Ma’am.
Madam Speaker: I rule in favour of the objection under the Standing Orders. So it is either you withdraw or you say clearly what you wish to say. Okay. [Desk thumping]
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, I am directed by you and I receive the good advice from the Attorney General. Attorney General, I will say what I will like to say and I will like to take ownership of it and then expose myself to privilege. [Desk thumping]
Let me say, because my words will now become something more important, that I have in my position what appears to be banking information regarding a beneficiary account in which it says, “additional instructions, attention”. I have said that there are two names there, I called one. I am saying—
Madam Speaker: Your original time is now spent. You are entitled to 10 more minutes.
Dr. R. Moonilal: I think I will need a next minute, Ma’am. I think I will take the 10.
Madam Speaker: You have 10 minutes, I gave you some injury time already.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Sure.
Madam Speaker: So you have 10 minutes to complete your contribution.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Thank you. So, Madam Speaker, let me just get my train of thought clear that I am asking the Attorney General, indicating I have a document here. This document, Madam Speaker, suggests that there are some banking transactions and information involving Mr. Vidya Deokiesingh or one Vidya Deokiesingh. There is no Mr. or Mrs. there, but Vidya Deokiesingh, and another name of a Member of the House. Would you wish me to call that name?
Mr. Al-Rawi: Madam Speaker, in reference to the Standing Order raised, I would also like the hon. Member to confirm what he said earlier, that he went to Miami and obtained this information himself, because there is a very different line that the hon. Member is taking right now. This relates to the imputation—[Crosstalk] under 48(6), and it is for your consideration, Madam Speaker, because to exercise— [Crosstalk]
Madam Speaker: Order.
Mr. Al-Rawi:—to exercise these privileges which are the remedy to what a Member may do, then it must be clear that the Member has said so, and I would like him to confirm that he went to a bank in Miami, he obtained this information. [Crosstalk]
Madam Speaker: Member for Naparima, nobody in here is God. Okay?— including you. I am on my legs. Attorney General, I believe that the Hansard would have already taken what the Member said. Okay? And I recall the Member saying that he is taking ownership for what he is about to say, and he has already said certain things that Hansard would have recorded.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, it cannot be another point of order. But, Madam Speaker, I will never finish.
Hon. Member: You sit down.
Mr. Hinds: Madam Speaker, in respect of the very Standing Order, should not the
Member tell us the date of that document at the very least?
Dr. Tewarie: He did already.
Hon. Member: He never did.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker—
Madam Speaker: In terms of this, the Member, unless it is Hansard, he is not bound to tell us the date. He has said certain things which is on record, he either proceeds or he withdraws. He has said he is taking ownership. [Desk thumping]
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, I will proceed, and I am proceeding to state, I do not have to restate what I said, the Hansard is there. I would like to say that all that is required is an explanation that this, what I have in my possession, is either true or it is not true. And if is not true, then it means that there is another story. If it is true, it is a story. I have brought to the House, a document which I cannot exhibit which I have read from as the best I could, and I leave the matter there. I have no interest in going further with that matter.
But what I will say, Madam Speaker, is that we are very concerned—[Interruption] but I read all the banking information already, what else you need? I mean, Madam Speaker, I wish not to call the name of the person.
Mr. Hinds: You are casting aspersions on all Members of the House.
Madam Speaker: Member, my recollection is that we have passed that stage in terms of this. An objection was raised on imputing improper motives, so it is either you withdrew, or you accepted ownership and you will disclose. My recollection is that you opted to proceed and disclose. So I do not need anybody to back up my recollection. So that, I do not know, having regard to the course that you have adopted which is recorded there, that you could now backpedal. Okay? You said you are exposing yourself, that is my recollection.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, I really do have a couple more points to make, so I will just indicate, according to your ruling, that the two names I have here, “Additional instructions, Attention”, V-I-D-Y-A D-E-O-K-I-E-S-I-N-G-H and the second name, K-E-I-T-H R-O-W-L-E-Y. I have read it, Madam Speaker, if this would be—[Interruption] Madam Speaker, please.
Madam Speaker: Member for Diego Martin North/East, I know you know much better than that. Could you kindly get up and withdraw so that we can proceed.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Apologize.
Mr. Imbert: Madam Speaker, I withdraw.
Madam Speaker: Excuse me. Excuse me.
Mr. Imbert: Sorry.
Madam Speaker: Okay? I have asked you to withdraw.
Mr. Imbert: Madam Speaker, I withdraw the word “liar”.
Madam Speaker: Continue.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, I want to move on really, because I have no interest in this. On a related matter, I am still on the same matter, but on another issue related to the same matter. Madam Speaker, it has also been in the public domain before today. This is not the first time now, before today, it was in the public domain on a site, on a website of a reference in relation to the AV Drilling matter, a reference to one Charlie Diaz. And I want to put that name out as well; Charlie Diaz. Who and what is Charlie Diaz in Florida, associated with A&V Drilling? Because it was in the public domain already that there was information being asked, purportedly being asked for, on Charlie Diaz. And information pertaining to the banking business of Charlie Diaz.
It has also been in the public domain so what I am saying now is certainly not fresh, that, in an email from the Internet which was circulated months ago, there was an email from one Justin Soogrim. And Justin Soogrim is sending an email on an email address of Vivian Baksh. This was already in the public domain, so this is not new.
Good morning hon. Prime Minister,
The following is the banking particulars for Mr. Charlie Diaz as requested.
Bank information, C&C International Trading bank account, and all the accounts there. This is old information; this is not new information.
Mr. Al-Rawi: I rise on Standing Order 48(6). If the hon. Member would please just confirm the source of this information. You cannot just say something because it is there. Again, the routine is, own it, say what it is, so we can be clear to take the action that is required in the event that it is required.
Madam Speaker: Member.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, I have how many minutes?
Madam Speaker: You have three minutes and 40 seconds. Could you, please reveal the—
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, it is an email, I cannot exhibit, but I can tell you it is an email on a Yahoo account of av[email protected]hoo.com. The email body is much longer and I do not have time to read it. In closing, I raise two critical matters of governance. I am asking for explanation, and I want to go further to say something. If it is that these documents which were given to me prove to be false, to be fabricated, I want to say that I will be the first person to apologize to all who have said that, if it is proven to be false. [Crosstalk]
Madam Speaker: Members, I want to hear the Member. I really want to hear the Member. Please continue.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, as I wind up now, let me put on record our very deep concern with files, documents, information pertaining to AV Drilling, the biggest corruption scandal that has hit this Government. [Desk thumping] Let us also, let me also put on record—is there a Standing Order? Madam Speaker, you have to give me the time, eh?
Dr. Rowley: Madam, 48(6), please.
Madam Speaker: Member, again, in terms of imputing improper motives with respect to the concern, I ask you to state that in another way. Withdraw it and state it in another way.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, I am still, I am speaking about AV Drilling and the fake oil. I am not speaking at this moment about anyone in particular.
Madam Speaker: I know you are not speaking about anyone in particular, but it is said in a particular context, and that is where the imputation is, so I am asking— and this is something that has happened. Either you say what you want to say or find another way to say it, please.
Dr. R. Moonilal: But, Madam Speaker, could I just proceed. You see my time is going.
Madam Speaker: Member, I have asked you to do something, either you do it—
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, I want to say with great respect, I am not understanding you clearly. I am prepared to follow your instructions, but I am not understanding because I was summarizing the issues in my few minutes left. I was not saying anything new. I was just summarizing to ask questions.
Madam Speaker: And I am saying in terms of the statement with respect to the concern, you have not said where the concern arises from and that is where the imputation in the whole context of what you have said. So either you say completely who you are concerned about, with the disappearance of those things, or you withdraw it.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, we are concerned that officials of Petrotrin are involved now in moving, reorganizing, closing down, mothballing, and we are concerned about the safety and security of files, documents— [Desk thumping]
Madam Speaker, I only have two minutes left. The problems at Petrotrin—
Mr. Al-Rawi: Again, on the exercise of 48(6), Madam Speaker.
Dr. R. Moonilal: No. You see, Madam Speaker, they want to have a trial— [Crosstalk]
Mr. Al-Rawi: If I may ask, on Standing Order 48(6), may I ask the hon. Member if he is prepared in owning these issues, to repeat them outside the walls of the Parliament?
Dr. R. Moonilal: No, Madam Speaker, you cannot have him doing that.
Madam Speaker: Member, you have one more minute.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Let me end by asking the Government squarely, let me ask the Government squarely, to reconsider their mind on the retrenchment and severance of the workers of Petrotrin, to reconsider their decision to close the refinery in the interest of this country. And for the Prime Minister to remember that when he came into office, he came into office with the support of workers, particularly oil workers and the OWTU. The workers—the Prime Minister and his party rode the backs of those workers that they are now firing today. [Desk thumping] Madam Speaker, I have one minute?
Madam Speaker: I gave you one minute.
Dr. R. Moonilal: Madam Speaker, thank you. [Desk thumping]