Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will not be referring the allegations of corruption made against him by Dr Roodal Moonilal to the Integrity Commission.
Speaking at a media conference on Wednesday before the start of the Budget debate, Rowley instead signalled his intention to take legal action against Moonilal and any “paid bloggers” who commented on the shared videos of Moonilal’s contribution, which sought to link him to an illicit payment from A&V Drilling through a Miami-based bank.
“The who?” Rowley scoffed when asked if he planned to involve the Integrity Commission in his attack against Moonilal.
“I already said where I want it to go,” Rowley added.
The PM’s plan of action is threefold - a call to the Commissioner of Police to launch an investigation into Moonilal’s revelations, a call on the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to investigate the matter and make the findings public and directing Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to utilise the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to seek assistance for information on the Florida-based account.
“I want to make it abundantly clear... this is a monstrous lie. There is absolutely no truth in anything that Dr Moonilal said about me yesterday (Tuesday), I have transacted no business in Florida with any person local or foreign, male or female,” he said.
“I have no banking relationships with any banking institutions in Florida to the best of my knowledge.”
Rowley said he could only recall banking in New York back in the 1970s when he used travellers’ cheques.
Although Moonilal is protected by parliamentary privilege for what he said during the debate, Rowley’s attorney Michael Quamina said Moonilal posted a statement on social media that exposed him to legal challenge.
Rowley said Moonilal and the entire United National Congress were seeking to link him to corruption.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), Dr Moonilal put on the parliamentary record and published for the world that he has unearthed evidence at a Florida bank, linking the Prime Minister of T&T, linking me personally, as citizen, as individual, but more importantly as Prime Minister, linking me to financial transactions to a company that apparently has difficulties with a state enterprise and may have been acting in a corrupt manner,” Rowley said.
Rowley also denied any connection to a bank or account in Mexico.
“There is no basis in fact. A fabrication by Dr Moonilal,” he said.
He said Moonilal and the UNC had consistently tried to tie him to A&V Drilling since Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar first revealed the details of the $100 million fake oil scandal.
“I have no relationship whatsoever,” he said, though he had previously said the owner of A&V, Haniff Baksh, was a close friend.
“They are linking me to the most heinous crime, which is corruption on the part of the Prime Minister of T&T,” he added.
Quamina said the email and other document that Moonilal presented as Rowley’s carried no date and was carefully cut to hide details.
“The document he has referred to is firstly an email which carries an email of the recipient jrowley.rawlin[email protected] That quite obviously is not the email address of the Prime Minister,” Quamina said.
The email begins with a greeting to the Prime Minister, he added.
“We have no explanation of why that was there but as I clearly indicated the address is not the address of the Prime Minister,” Quamina said.