Google provides T&T with info on `emailgate’ probe

(Trinidad Express) One day after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar called on authorities to wrap up the investigation into emailgate, Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams has announced that multinational Internet service provider Google has provided the information that was sourced and the Police Service (TTPS) is analysing it.

This comes almost two years after Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley disclosed the explosive content of e-mails alleged to come from senior government office holders which allegedly pointed to serious criminal offences by them.

The TTPS yesterday confirmed receiving the communication from Google, through the Central Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.

This was disclosed in a news release from the TTPS by the head of its corporate communications, Ellen Lewis.

The release said: “The information contained in the communication is voluminous in nature and the alleged e-mails are being analysed by the TTPS to determine their authenticity.”

It added that the information was made available to the TTPS by Google following a request made via the Central Authority.

“Commissioner of Police (Ag), Stephen Williams, has given the assurance the outcome of the investigation will be made public in due course.

“The Commissioner of Police recognises the importance of the issue to the general public and accordingly advises that the matter is being treated with the level of urgency required and expected,” the release said.

At the UNC’s Monday night forum at the Brazil Secondary School, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar spoke of a newspaper article which indicated that investigators were in possession of correspondence from Google, and, she called on the authorities, including the Police Commissioner and the Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard (SC) to indicate their position.

“I call upon the acting Commissioner of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to indicate what the position is in this regard. I’ve also asked my lawyers to make such representation on my behalf to their offices,” said Persad-Bissessar.

“If the e-mail information sent from the US authorities has in fact been received directly from Google by the police concerning my e-mail account and those of other ministers, then those investigations must move with dispatch, must move swiftly to conclude that investigation having regard of the serious nature of the allegations…I ask that the findings be made public as a matter of urgency so the damage done to our country’s reputation can be restored,” she added.

Yesterday calls by the Express to the deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Joan Honore-Paul were not answered or returned.

In May 2013, Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard recused himself from the investigation and delegated the responsibility of advising the police in the matter to Honore-Paul. He had also recommended an international forensic investigation into the “emailgate”.

On May 20, 2013, while addressing Parliament in his no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her People’s Partnership Government, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley read 31 controversial e-mails allegedly sent between senior government officials.

The officials whose e-mail addresses the messages were purported to have come from were Persad-Bissessar, then Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal, former local government minister Surujrattan Rambachan and then national security adviser to the Prime Minister, Gary Griffith.

The allegations dealt with an alleged plot to tap the phone of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP); offer the DPP a judgeship; to accept payment from an unnamed woman in exchange for the freedom of people involved in the Section 34 fiasco in September 2012; and conspiring to harm a journalist who broke the story about the early proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011.

The officials who were named all denied the allegations and claimed the e-mails were fabrications.

Following this, the TTPS launched an investigation into alleged e-mail transactions attributed to the e-mail accounts of certain senior government officials.

In the months which followed, investigators interviewed all of the parties who were named in Rowley’s claims, while Persad-Bissessar and her Cabinet colleagues were asked to hand over their electronic devices to investigators for examination.

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