Trinidad seeking to recover TT$50M from ex-minister

(Trinidad Guardian) Government is moving to recover TT$50 million from former works and transport minister Colm Imbert for the purchase of the MV Sue. That is according to Imbert who called a news conference at his Maraval constituency office yesterday. Imbert said he was in possession of a pre-action protocol letter indicating that moves were afoot to initiate civil action against him for the purchase of the vessel which was never used on the water taxi service because of mechanical defects. Imbert said Attorney General Anand Ramlogan must now make a clear statement if the Government was intent on taking him to court for the decision to buy the vessel.

Imbert said he intended to write Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs and the Integrity Commission about the matter. He said the claim being made was that he bought the vehicle as minister, knowing it was not up to the required standard. He said the MV Sue was purchased on the recommendation of the then Minister in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Roger Joseph, who subsequently left the PNM and was offered a job, with a monthly salary of more than TT$40,000, at the National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco), under the PP Government

He said if the Government was pursuing the matter, it would be a wild-goose chase. He said the pre-action letter was drafted about three months ago. He said he intended taking legal action against the Attorney General, the Government and Nidco. He said it was a “horrible conspiracy.” Imbert said he also planned to initiate criminal proceedings against the State for taking civil action based on documents knowing that they were false. He said the move to initiate civil action against him could be an attempt to muzzle him because he had been one of the more vocal Opposition MPs and also to distract public attention from the many problems affecting the Government at this time.

“There is a lot going on in the country that I think the Government would not want people to think about,’ he said. Imbert said he was taking the matter very seriously. He said it would be a very dangerous thing for T&T to resort to this kind of action on the part of the Government. He said the allegations were not criminal in nature. He added: “When I look at these documents there are no allegations of corruption. There is no allegation that any money was stolen. “There is no allegation of fraud, no allegation of bribery. There is no allegation of impropriety or corruption whatsoever.” He said it was a civil suit to recover the cost of the ferry, based on a view that it was wrong on the part of a former minister to have purchased the vessel.

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