The Opposition United National Congress (UNC) has again called for an investigation into what the party continues to allege is Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s failure to declare a $1.2 million Tobago townhouse to the Integrity Commission.
At a press conference yesterday morning in Port-of-Spain, Opposition senator Anil Roberts claimed that the Prime Minister was still not in the clear despite Rowley’s assertions that he did nothing wrong.
“Did the honourable Prime Minister break the law? Did he fail to give a full and complete and truthful account and statement of registrable interest - Form B Section 6 (under the Integrity in Public Life Act)...Did he fill that out properly? Did he sign it and know it was truthful or false? Signing a fake declaration is a charge,” Roberts said.
He added: “These breaches we are discussing are liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of $250,000 and 10 years imprisonment. We require an investigation fully to see what Rowley waived is the same as what was lodged.”
The opposition said it is unconvinced by Rowley’s explanations about his declaration of the Tobago townhouse purchased in 2019.
At a press conference on Friday, the Prime Minister said all necessary documents were lodged at the Integrity Commission on December 20, 2020, following an extension request.
Rowley said the declaration was made on form A of his declaration, a confidential form, and not form B, which is available to the public.
“He did not put it on form B because he doesn’t want the whole world to know he got a benefit of $468,000 and this is very serious,” Roberts claimed.
He added: “The United National Congress has evidence that Keith Rowley paid a stamp duty of $33,500...That works out to a value of $1.68 million...Keith Rowley on his form A declaration, that he signed, put $1.2 million.”
According to the Opposition, several high-profile people also bought townhouses at the Inez Gate, Shirvan Road development.
However, Roberts claimed those people paid more than Rowley did for his townhouse.
“That would mean Keith Rowley received a discount, a benefit, a gift, a personal benefit of $460,000,” Roberts claimed.
He said, “Here’s where the problem arises with being a person in public life under Section 21 of the person in public life. A person, who this act applies, shall not accept a fee, gift or personal benefit, (directly or indirectly) except compensation authorized by law - which is your package, your salary.
Last Friday, the Prime Minister said he is considering suing Opposition MP Saddam Hosein - who first raised the issue at a UNC Monday Night Forum.
Under the Integrity in Public Life Act, people in public life are required to file annual declarations and statements to the Integrity Commission.