No charges yet against former Trinidad AG and Senator for kickback scheme

Anand Ramlogan

(Trinidad Guardian) Po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing an al­leged le­gal fee kick­back scam in­volv­ing for­mer at­tor­ney gen­er­al Anand Ram­lo­gan, SC and Op­po­si­tion Sen­a­tor Ger­ald Ramdeen are mov­ing to com­plete their in­ves­ti­ga­tion short­ly.

Even as the State’s co-op­er­at­ing wit­ness, Vin­cent Nel­son, QC, ap­peared in court yes­ter­day morn­ing to an­swer charges over his role in the al­leged scam, Ram­lo­gan and Ramdeen re­mained in the cus­tody of An­ti-Cor­rup­tion In­ves­ti­ga­tion Bu­reau (ACIB) of­fi­cers with­out be­ing charged.

Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that in­ves­ti­ga­tors were ex­pect­ed to in­ter­view both men for the first time late yes­ter­day evening. They in fact com­plet­ed in­ter­view­ing one of them. Af­ter the process is com­plet­ed, the of­fi­cers are ex­pect­ed to ap­proach the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tion (DPP) for ad­vice on what charges, if any, should be laid against the duo.

While the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the is­sue com­menced al­most three years ago, it reached a crit­i­cal stage on Wednes­day morn­ing as in­ves­ti­ga­tors ex­e­cut­ed an ar­rest war­rant for Ram­lo­gan at the Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port around 4.15 am. He was about to board a flight to Mi­a­mi to con­nect to the British Vir­gin Is­lands (BVI), where he was ex­pect­ed to rep­re­sent the Speak­er of BVI’s House As­sem­bly Ju­lian Wilcox. Ramdeen sur­ren­dered to in­ves­ti­ga­tors two hours lat­er.

On Wednes­day evening, po­lice ex­e­cut­ed search war­rants at the duo’s homes in south Trinidad and at Ramdeen’s of­fice at Cor­ne­lio Street, Wood­brook. Dur­ing the search­es, which last­ed well in­to the night, in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­port­ed­ly seized sev­er­al elec­tron­ic de­vices and doc­u­ments.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion cen­tres around al­most $1 bil­lion in le­gal fees which was paid to pri­vate le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers rep­re­sent­ing the State and State com­pa­nies in le­gal pro­ceed­ings dur­ing Ram­lo­gan’s tenure be­tween 2010 and 2015. The law­suits in­clude sev­er­al over al­leged cor­rup­tion which oc­curred un­der the pre­vi­ous Patrick Man­ning regime. A per­cent­age of the fees, which were paid through the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al, was al­leged­ly giv­en to Ram­lo­gan.

Nel­son, who ben­e­fit­ed from over $20 mil­lion in le­gal briefs, has signed a plea bar­gain agree­ment un­der which he is ex­pect­ed to tes­ti­fy against the duo in ex­change for im­mu­ni­ty or a re­duced sen­tence.

Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that sev­er­al oth­er lawyers, both lo­cal and for­eign, who are be­lieved to have ben­e­fit­ed un­der the scheme are al­so be­ing in­ves­ti­gat­ed.

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