Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal is calling on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to disclose who told him that fired minister Marlene McDonald was going to be charged and on whose phone he received that information.
He made the call while speaking at the United National Congress’ (UNC) pavement report at the St Julien Presbyterian Primary School in New Grant on Friday night, where another Opposition MP also called on the police to reopen the Landate investigation against Rowley.
Commenting on the post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, Moonilal said Rowley made two very alarming statements. The Prime Minister, he said, stated,”’I did not know about what happening to Marlene McDonald, 10.30 on Sunday night I got official information and I got it from somebody else phone.’
“What are you saying Keith Rowley? The taxpayer pays for the phone of a prime minister. As a Prime Minister, who phone you using at 10.30 in the night? Who phone is that that you are getting official information on somebody else phone and who giving you official information.”
Moonilal, who is a member of the National Security Council which Rowley chairs, implied that the information came from the National Security Council.
“The National Security Council is not for anybody to come and tell you who being arrested, who being charged, when they being charged, what are the charges. That is not the purpose of a National Security Council. So when Rowley says that at 10.30 on a Sunday night somebody tell him that Marlene McDonald is to be charged he is out of place and he has compromised the DPP, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the police.
“Tonight, I call on Keith Rowley to tell us who told you Marlene McDonald is to be charged. That is not your business, whether she charge or not, that is not your business. And who phone you was using?”
Since Rowley received the information via What’sApp on someone else’s phone, he said that suggested he was using a parallel phone to conduct the business of the country.
“Why are you doing that? What you have to hide...?” asked the Oropouche East MP.
McDonald has been granted $2 million bail on seven charges stemming from allegations that she allegedly misappropriated state funds for her personal gain.
Also charged are McDonald’s common-law husband Michael Carew, Wayne Anthony, Victor McEachrane and Edgar Zephyrine, the former chairman of the National Commision for Self Help.
In light of the criminal charges against McDonald after she was cleared by the Integrity Commission, Princes Town MP Barry Padarath also called for the reopening of the Landate investigation, which involved Rowley.
“Just like how the Integrity Commission said Marlene had no case to answer, they also let Keith Rowley off the hook a few years ago. Tonight, based on the precedent set where we have found the rulings of the Integrity Commission have been at odds with the investigation of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service investigation, I believe that warrants the reopening of the Landate matter,” he said.
“The United National Congress tonight calls for the reopening of the Landate matter with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.”
He claimed Rowley got off on a technicality and not based on the evidence.
“You know what it was based on. They felt that the Integrity Commission, the process that was used was the incorrect process.”
While a minister in the Patrick Manning administration, Rowley was accused of allegedly removing materials from the construction site of the Scarborough Hospital to a private real estate development—Landate—owned by his wife. The Integrity Commission investigated and sent the file to the DPP. However, Rowley challenged the Integrity Commission’s decision in the High Court and received a stay on the grounds that he was not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.