Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has ordered the extradition of businessmen Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh to the United States to stand trial. The decision was made yesterday by Ramlogan, who is constitutionally charged with the responsibility and has the statutory duty to decide extradition requests. A press release from the AG's office yesterday stated that the allegations against Ferguson and Galbaransingh are "complex and serious." The AG decided that based on these serious allegations that both men be tried as soon as possible, where they will be either acquitted or convicted. "The Chief Magistrate has found that there is evidence supporting a prima facie case against them both on the conduct alleged in the American request. That decision has been upheld by our High Court and Court of Appeal and the Privy Council dismissed an application to appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision," the release explained.
Both the United States of America and T&T have carried out extensive investigations into the alleged criminal conduct of Ferguson and Galbaransingh. "The alleged criminal conduct has affected and may have occurred in both the United States of America and Trinidad and Tobago," the release further stated. Extensive written representations were submitted to the AG at his request, on behalf of the two accused. Further representations were then solicited from the US government and the DPP. The last set of representations were received from the DPP on September 29, 2010 allowing the AG to arrive at a decision. The AG, having carefully considered all the representations submitted, decided that the USA is the more appropriate and convenient forum for these charges.
The release added that the AG was convinced that Ferguson and Galbaransingh would receive a fair trial. Sir Ellis Clarke, one of the architects of T&T's two constitutions and its first president, had said Galbaransingh and Ferguson should be tried in T&T. Sir Ellis had also strongly criticised the "prosecuting authorities" in the matters pertaining to both men.
Ferguson and Galbaransingh, both former financiers of the United National Congress, are wanted in the United States Southern District of Florida Court to answer 95 charges of fraud, including money laundering, arising out of the construction of the Piarco Airport Terminal building. Six of the co-defendants pleaded guilty in 2006 and were serving prison terms, the highest being six years. They have also agreed to pay more than US$6 million in restitution to the Government of T&T.