The Rowley-led PNM Administration’s apparent unlimited access to taxpayers’ money to feed their fixation on persecuting Anand Ramlogan and Gerald Ramdeen continues. Faris Al-Rawi should have already resigned or fired from the Cabinet for his inappropriate political control, direction and influence in his role in this indemnity agreement with Vincent Nelson.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Reginald Armour issued a media release, thanking two of the most eminent Leaders of the local Bar, Douglas Mendes SC and Gilbert Peterson SC for returning their briefs the matter of CV 2002-00408, Vincent Nelson vs The Attorney General and applauded them “for the skill, professionalism and value as well as their exceptional leadership and professionalism.”
With all due respect Mr Attorney General, this statement is an insult to the intelligence of citizens! These two SCs only returned their legal briefs because of the public outcry for their role in what is now referred to as NelsonGate as they were cited as advisors to your predecessor Faris Al-Rawi.
Al-Rawi continues to deny any wrongdoing on his part with reference to a 2017 Indemnity Agreement he signed with Nelson and maintains he did so based on the advice of Mendes and Peterson. While Armour has refused to divulge what that advice was and how much the State paid these two SCs, the decision to accept or reject same was always Al-Rawi’s and Al-Rawi’s only.
And today, this sordid legal mess is again back on the front burner as Armour has announced he has retained the services of Kennedy Talbot, another UK King’s Counsel to represent the state in the civil lawsuit filed by Nelson in which Nelson is seeking over $100 million in compensation for multiple breaches of the indemnity agreement including his statement being given to the UK’s National Crime Agency.
Armour has not said a word about his predecessor’s decision to draft and authorise this indemnity which was not within his constitutional mandate. By so doing, Al-Rawi usurped the role, function and responsibility of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
That secret agreement committed the TT taxpayer to paying Nelson’s legal fees at both local and international jurisdictions and further gave Nelson an assurance that no civil proceedings would be taken against him. Al-Rawi even went so far as to assure Nelson that he will recommend the DPP takes no criminal action against him as well as a Presidential Pardon would be given to him if he gave evidence against Ramlogan and Ramdeen.
NelsonGate has evoked the wrath of citizens who are now becoming increasingly less tolerant of the secrecy in public matters by this Administration.
The Rowley-led PNM Administration’s apparent unlimited access to taxpayers’ money to feed their fixation on persecuting Anand Ramlogan and Gerald Ramdeen continues. Nelson’s lawsuit also includes a statement in which he alludes to being “induced” into giving the statement against Ramlogan and Ramdeen.
Nelson’s lawsuit has exposed the State to over $100 Million as well as millions more in legal fees and briefs.
This will be added to the $11 Million in fees which Al-Rawi “authorised, on behalf of the GORTT” and was paid to Nelson as well as the other millions in travel and accommodation for Nelson’s own Attorneys Tom Allen KC, and Shula de Jersey.
Al-Rawi stated he was “advised” by senior counsel that funds from the AG’s Office should be used to pay the legal costs of Nelson when he was charged with conspiracy for corruption in Trinidad as well as when he was investigated by the UK’s National Crime Agency.
Public funds were also used to pay for Nelson’s attorneys Tom Allen K.C., BCL Solicitors (£85,759.61/TT$686,080) and another outstanding invoice of £450,000/TT$3,600,000 to one of his local attorneys Roger Kawalsingh.
Nelson is also demanding that the State pay the $2.25 million fines he was ordered to pay when he was sentenced in March 2020.
While the Government continues to defend the actions of former AG Al-Rawi who, according to the information in the public domain acted beyond his authority and exceeded his jurisdiction, this matter has again raised the question that persons in high office, especially the Attorney General, be one of the highest integrity and nothing will/must sway that office-holder misusing the system and the law to improperly hinder the administration of justice.
Assuming that the sworn statement by Nelson is true, then the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service should have been investigating the former AG for misbehavior in public office.
At the very least, Faris Al-Rawi should have already resigned or fired from the Cabinet of Prime Minister Keith Rowley for his inappropriate political control, direction and influence in his role in this indemnity agreement with Vincent Nelson.