Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has given a high-powered legal team–led by British Queen's Counsel Alan Neuman–three months to prepare a preliminary report, following corruption investigations into key state institutions. The enterprises under probe are Petrotrin, Scarborough hospital, Sport Company of T&T, the University of Trinidad and Tobago, T&T Electricity Commission and the Evolving Technologies and Enterprise Development Co Ltd. The team also included Martin Hall, Akbar Ali, Mark Seepersad and Gerard Ramdin. The probe is being conducted in collaboration with the elite police Anti-Corruption Investigation Bureau. Ramlogan made the revelations during a news conference at his Port-of-Spain offices yesterday.
He said the team began meeting line ministers and their technocrats on Thursday to receive documents and to begin preparing their preliminary analyses of the projects. Ramlogan, who said he could not yet divulge the cost of the investigations, stated that those found guilty of wrongdoing would be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. The Attorney General said, however, that it was "very likely" that a former prime minister could be taken before the court. He said a file was sent to Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard regarding the denial of a radio licence to the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha. "No price tag is too heavy for this country to pay to unravel the corruption and mismanagement that took place under the PNM, to ensure that it never takes place again," he said.
Ramlogan said upon assuming office, he had been inundated with complaints from the general public and his ministerial colleagues –including Works Minister Jack Warner–about corruption and mismanagement of funds under the previous administration. "We were literally bombarded by complaints by those who within the system were unhappy with what was taking place, but who could not say or voice their objection for fear of victimisation," he said. Ramlogan said he was inviting all citizens to assist in the investigations by providing information which could "point the team in the right direction." Stressing that the investigations were not "political persecutions," he said: "If you have cocoa in the sun, well, then it's time to perhaps cover it."
Udecott investigations "delicate"
The Attorney General revealed that the probe into state-owned Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott) was ongoing and had reached a "delicate stage." Ramlogan said that two weeks ago, he met with forensic auditor Bob Lindquist, acting Commissioner of Police James Philbert and a "high-powered team of investigators" to further discuss the matter. He said he was informed by Philbert "that he does know where Mr Calder Hart is...I am equally informed that those investigations by the Anti-Corruption Bureau are, in fact, proceeding. "I am absolutely monitoring those investigations, which have reached a rather delicate and sensitive stage," Ramlogan said. "It is not a matter that has been forgotten at all...It is actively being pursued."