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Attorneys: A money trail of millions, Faris has to account

Martin George & Company > Newspaper Articles  > Attorneys: A money trail of millions, Faris has to account

Attorneys: A money trail of millions, Faris has to account

The millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money spent in the persecution of former attorney general Anand Ramlogan raises issues of misbehaviour in office on the part of former attorney general Faris Al-Rawi.

This is according to Pamela Elder, SC, who represented Ramlogan in the criminal proceedings brought against him by the State.

Those matters against Ramlogan and former senator Gerald Ramdeen, an attorney, have now been discontinued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

In a telephone interview with the Express yesterday, Elder said a statement submitted by Al-Rawi to the DPP, which contained exhibits, disclosed “astounding” fees paid to a junior attorney in T&T and United Kingdom attorneys.

This local attorney is former Police Service Commission (PolSC) member Roger Kawalsingh.

Elder said she had documents which show claims by attorneys locally and in the UK for outstanding balances to the tune of hundreds of thousands of British pounds.

She said British King’s Counsel Vincent Nelson is seeking £13 million in his civil claim against the State.

“This raises issues and I am being very circumspect in my statement, but in light of all my years and experience as a criminal attorney-at-law, it raises serious issues of misbehaviour in public office because it is a money trail of millions, and I am speaking of millions of dollars expended in the persecution of my client,” said Elder.

She said of “extreme importance” is whether these monies were spent without the DPP’s knowledge.

She said it must also be known whether the monies expended to Nelson for legal advice and representation was brought to the attention of the judge at the plea ­bargaining hearing.

“This is not a light matter, this is an extremely troubling matter,” she said.

Several attempts by the Express to contact Al-Rawi for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.

Prosecution undermined

Elder said misconduct in office is a criminal offence and a matter for the police to investigate.

She questioned whe­ther the DPP was aware of all the legal payments made.

“As a citizen I feel hurt because we all have systems in place for an accomplice,” she said.

She said if an accomplice wants to give evidence, the DPP decides whether he would be granted an immunity, whether he would be put in a safe house, his daily upkeep, etc.

“If the proper procedure had been adopted and if Faris Al-Rawi didn’t interfere then this may not have happened, but in light of what happened the entire prosecution has been undermined,” she said.

She said Nelson was given an indemnity, all his legal fees paid and he even asked that his fine be paid by the State.

Elder said further when the Fraud Squad in England wanted to interview Nelson, the State paid for his legal fees.

Nelson, she said, got all the money he sued the State for, and had all his legal fees paid at the expense of taxpayers.

She noted that he has broken his agreement with the State and he cannot be extradited to come and give evidence here, as there is no extradition treaty between Trinidad and Italy, where Nelson resides.

Elder said AG Reginald Armour, stating he was surprised at the discontinuance of the matter, was perhaps speaking “per incuriam” where he is not seized of all the ­relevant facts.

She said she would hate to think he was seized of all the facts and issued a statement criticising, by ­implication, the DPP.

Elder said the AG is talking about engaging King’s Counsel—as she noted this was already done and there are legal fees to show this.

Meanwhile, attorney Martin George told the Express that this entire ordeal is a “travesty of justice” and Al-Rawi owes the country an explanation.

“The ordinary man in the street would be well justified in saying that there appears to be one law for the rich and powerful and another law for the poor and indigent and that could not be fair in a just and democratic society,” he said.

“You also have the underlying element of some back room deal or secret deal that was being carved and possibly signed and these things need to bring into the full glare of public scrutiny,” he said.

The Office of the Attorney General, he said, is not responsible for instituting criminal prosecutions and one wonders what role the AG’s office played in this.

“I think there are several questions to be answered here and the public demands and deserves a proper justification and clarification for this because it’s either you have the evidence or you didn’t.

“And if you didn’t why go through his charade and if you did have the evidence where has it gone?

“It could not be on Nelson turning State evidence because he was also charged,” he said.

By: Anna Ramdass

Trinidad Express Newspaper

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