T&T PM, AG agree to hand over electronic devices for email probe

(Trinidad Guardian) Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan have agreed to hand over their electronic devices to the police team investigating the e-mail scandal but with conditions. The Prime Minister and AG wrote to the team, headed by Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson, on Monday confirming their intentions two weeks after the team had asked them to surrender their devices for analysis.

However, they asked for them to be analysed in the presence of their attorneys and information technology specialists, a source close to the investigators said. Thus far national security adviser to the PM, Gary Griffith, is the only person who has handed over his cellphone and computer hard drive to the investigating team. Local Government and Works Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan and Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal also have been asked to surrender their devices for inspection, the T&T Guardian was told.

More than ten people, including ministers and Guardian Media Ltd investigative reporter Denyse Renne, have been interviewed so far. Renne went to police headquarters on Monday and offered full co-operation to the police. In addition to requests for foreign forensic analysis and cyber-crime experts to assist in the investigations, arrangements also are being made, through the Central Authority Department in the Office of the Attorney General, to get information from Hotmail and Gmail servers in the United States.

Speaking yesterday, Richardson admitted his team was making progress. However, he has refused to speculate as to when the investigation might end. Speaking briefly with the T&T Guardian, Richardson said: “Yes, we are making progress. We have received additional information from all parties involved in the investigation and we continue to work on these pieces of information.”

Refusing to reveal just who had been interviewed by the police thus far, Richardson added: “I can assure you that every effort is being made to expedite the investigation. However, we cannot sacrifice speed for efficiency or efficacy.” Stating the team of investigators had sought the assistance of the legal fraternity, as well as “other qualified people,” Richardson said he was satisfied with the “current state of the investigation.”

He also responded to a release issued by the Law Association yesterday, in which it urged the police to “use the best resources available to expedite the investigation as well as ensure that the investigation is thorough, impartial and comprehensive.” Indicating his support for the association’s call, Richardson agreed with the position adopted by the association as it awaited the outcome of the investigation.

The release said the association had “taken a measured and deliberate approach to these events to allow for proper investigation. “In the circumstances to ensure continuing confidence in Parliament, key office-holders, the Office of The Director of Public Prosecutions and the police, the Law Association calls upon the police to use the best resources available to it to expedite the investigation as well as to ensure that such investigation is thorough, impartial and comprehensive,” it added.

It said the association “refrains from commenting on matters that are still inchoate and are the subject of ongoing police investigation, as to do so without factual basis would be irresponsible” and urged the police to come to “the expeditious resolution of this matter.”

 

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