The Anti-Corruption Bureau still has the Landate matter under probe and police still have the Calder Hart matter under investigation, says Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. Ramlogan said so in the Senate yesterday, replying to Opposition questions. From figures Ramlogan gave on work by the so-called “A-team” of attorneys hired in 2010 to probe various matters of alleged corruption, the Government has to date paid out approximately $39 million in fees to local and foreign attorneys and a forensic firm.
He said figures up to April 2013 were that the following sums were paid out:
• local attorney Mark Seepersad—$356,666
• local attorney Gerald Ramdeen—$1.8 million
• foreign attorney Allan Newman—$9.5 million
• Afa Law—$6.9 million
• forensic firm Alex Partners—$20.9 million.
Ramlogan said the fees were for probing alleged misconduct, including civil fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and similar alleged wrongdoing on cases in which $2 billion in compensation is being sought. He said the work of the “A-team” is completed and the team’s probes had fulfilled their mandate.
He said the team’s work was to uncover civil wrong and not criminal wrong, since the Government has no power or legal authority to start or supervise any police probe. Authority for criminal probes was vested with the police and DPP, he added. Ramlogan said: “As we speak, the police still have the Calder Hart matter under investigation. They still have, through the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Landate matter under investigation.”
He said the police also had under investigation some of the matters the “A-team” was working on. But Ramlogan said he could not report on these probes, or say why they were taking so long or what authorities had been doing, since that was a matter for the police and DPP. He said he was sure criminal efforts were made by the former administration to pilfer a lot of money and these matters were being investigated by the police.
“But the chickens will come home to roost when the police complete their investigations...They can run but they could never hide,” he said. After the work done by the “A-team,” Ramlogan said, the Government was suing ex-Udecott chairman Hart and Udecott board members for $500 million in connection with the Brian Lara Stadium construction in Tarouba. Also being probed is a claim against former Petrotrin chairman Malcolm Jones for $1.2 billion regarding the gas to liquids plant.
He said investigations were also done into Prof Ken Julien and former E Teck board members on the Bamboo Investments issue, in which US$6 million was pumped on a project “into a black hole.” Another issue concerns Julien and the lease of an Aripo guest house which Ramlogan said was outfitted to house “PNM prophetess” Juliana Pena, in which the State failed to verify the leasor was the owner of the property.