(Trinidad Express) Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has descried as “laughable” claims made by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan that the Emailgate scandal is now invalidated.
Rowley, who is currently in London, said he finds it “unacceptable” that Ramlogan would investigate himself and call for independent investigations currently ongoing into the matter to be stopped.
Rowley has also shrugged off threats by Ramlogan to take legal action against him.
The Emailgate scandal started on May 20 last year when Rowley presented a series of purported e-mails to the Parliament which he said implicated Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Works Minister Dr Surujrattan Rambachan and Ramlogan in “high crime”, “misbehaviour in public office” and a massive cover-up.
Rowley quoted from a series of e-mails between e-mail accounts “firstname.lastname@example.org”, “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” believed to be belonging to Ramlogan and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar respectively.
On Sunday, Ramlogan produced a certified affidavit signed by Chi Nguyen, the custodian of records at Google Inc, which he said invalidated the e-mails read out by Rowley.
On that same day Christopher Sargent, a partner at ComputerLaw Group LLP, filed a “Notice of Pendency of Other Action or Proceeding” blocking the Integrity Commission’s ongoing legal action against Google Inc.
Last week the Integrity Commission won a legal battle to have Google Inc provide information on three e-mail accounts, believed to be connected to Ramlogan and Persad-Bissessar, as part of its investigation into the Emailgate fiasco.
The Integrity Commission’s subpoena was seeking information for the e-mail accounts “email@example.com”, “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “email@example.com” which the Commission said were relevant to a “criminal investigation into possible governmental corruption”.
The affidavit by Nguyen stated “firstname.lastname@example.org” belongs to Ramlogan and “email@example.com” belongs to Persad-Bissessar. But the e-mails read out by Rowley did not exist.
During a newss conference at Cabildo Chambers on Sunday, accompanied by Senior Counsel Pamela Elder and Sargent via Skype technology, Ramlogan said the Emailgate scandal has now ended.
Elder said since the e-mail address “firstname.lastname@example.org” was not part of the thread read out by Rowley in Parliament the Integrity Commission would be going on a “frolic of its own” if it were to request information on that account.
The Express yesterday contacted Rowley via telephone to get his comment on the situation.
“This is a very odd situation where the subject of an investigation would have carried out his own investigation and is now telling other investigators that his investigation is the story,” Rowley said.
“I am not interested in the personal and private escapades of the Attorney General, especially when they are secret and self-serving as they are. What I am interested in is the spectacle of the Trinidad and Tobago’s Attorney General, who is supposed to be assisting the State with a very important investigation, and can point to no assistance that his department has given to the police, the DPP (the Director of Public Prosecutions) or any other, the Integrity Commission for that matter, to advance the State’s investigation but can surprise us with the findings which he has paid for, presenting himself and his lawyers to tell us that he, while we were thinking that there was a State investigation taking place, in fact he was investigating himself and he has found himself to be without question to answer,” he said,
Rowley said while it was “unacceptable” for Ramlogan to investigate himself this was the precedent set by Persad-Bissessar.
“This I find quite unacceptable on the part of the Attorney General and it is all in keeping with the Prime Minister’s understanding of these matters of State where in the Prisongate matter when the Solicitor General made certain documentation available to the Prime Minister and she sent it to the Attorney General to investigate himself,” Rowley said.
Rowley said his role in the Emailgate scandal was simply as the voice calling for an independent investigation into information he received.
“In my own case I am saying here these matters came to my attention. I considered them, I came to the conclusion that they required an investigation, I took them to the President, I waited six months, there was no investigation by the Integrity Commission, which incidentally is now pursuing an investigation that I expected in 2012, and I went to Parliament and I asked for an independent investigation into this matter,” Rowley said.
Rowley said he will be returning to the country in a week’s time and would address the matter in more depth then.