The United National Congress (UNC) is planning to challenge Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi's claim that former attorney general Anand Ramlogan spent $1.4 billion during his time in office.
A key part of the UNC's argument comes from Al-Rawi's response to Senate questions in which he noted that for the years 2011-2015, Ramlogan's AG office "used" $522 million.
This figure is vastly different from Al-Rawi's previous statement that the AG's office spent some $1.4 billion under Ramlogan's watch.
On Thursday, Sunday Guardian received a document detailing Al-Rawi's response to questions in the Senate one year after he assumed office.
"The total legal fees allocation used by the UNC Government in period 2010-2015, $522,314,155.00," Al-Rawi said in his Senate response.
Sunday Guardian spoke with a high-level insider at the Attorney General's office who confirmed the figure and then sought to clarify the AG's Senate response.
"That was the AG office (Ramlogan's tenure)," he said.
"Total Government expenditure under Anand's (Ramlogan) control is largely 1.6 billion."
He listed high profile cases such as Ramlogan's lawsuits against Petrotrin, Eteck, Udecott, and T&TEC.
He said even though those larger State enterprises have legal representation, Ramlogan "took conduct and control" of them.
"They normally function independently—under UNC Anand took conduct and control eg, Malcolm Jones/Petrotrin matter, Calder Hart/Udecott matter etc."
The spending out of the AG's office has been a bone of contention since Ramlogan was fired.
In fact, in 2015 his successor Garvin Nicholas was forced to correct misinformation in the public domain.
"In the interest of transparency, it must also be noted that some $80 million in foreign payments had been omitted from the initial report of which $45.3 million was paid to Deloitte and Touche and $7.7 million to Trinidad and Tobago’s long-standing Privy Council agents, Charles Russell. This brings the total paid out during the period to $408,260,340.48," Nicholas said then.
"These errors arose as a result of using two recording systems for Attorneys’ fees—an official “fees register”, and an “excel spreadsheet” which is meant to be updated on a regular basis. I am assured that no overpayments have actually been made," Nicholas said then.
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ALLOCATIONS (2011-2015)
2011: $199 Million
2012: $230 Million
2013: $235 Million
2014: 270 Million
2015: $271 Million
5 YEARS TOTAL = $1.235 Billion
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ALLOCATIONS (2016-2019)
2016: $376 Million
2017: $303 Million
2018: $317 Million
2019: $318 Million
4 YEARS TOTAL = $1.314 Billion