Former Trinidad AG appears in court on legal fees charges

Corruption-accused Gerald Ramdeen (centre) on his way to court on Monday

(Trinidad Express) The evidence of queen’s counsel Vincent Nelson, the State’s star witness in the corruption cases against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and UNC Senator Gerald Ramdeen, should be death with swiftly, in the event Nelson dies.

This was the submission made by senior counsel Pamela Elder, the attorney for Ramlogan, who appeared along with Ramdeen in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court yesterday morning.

Elder told Chief Magistrate Maria Busby-Earl Caddle that the statements made by Nelson, who has prostate cancer, should be entered into evidence quickly.

 “He is ill so we ask that the matter proceed as soon as possible so if he were to pass on, we would have his evidence” said Elder.

She also asked that all disclosable material related to Nelson be provided to the defence as soon as possible, given Nelson’s health condition.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, senior counsel Roger Gaspard, who appeared for the State, said the Office of the DP would fulfil its obligations when it came to disclosure.

Gaspard said he could not say with precision how many witnesses would be testifying against Ramlogan and Ramdeen, but that it would be no more than 12.

The two men were read the charges yesterday, and not called upon to enter a plea since the offences were laid indictably.

According to the charges, Ramdeen and Ramlogan allegedly conspired with Nelson for Ramlogan to misbehave in public office during his time as attorney general by accepting sums of money representing a reward from Nelson for granting him State briefs.

Additionally, it is alleged that they conspired for Ramdeen to receive, conceal and transfer criminal property which represented corrupt rewards given to Ramlogan by Nelson for the said State briefs.

The third allegation against the two is that they conspired for Nelson to give ten per cent of the paid legal fees to Ramlogan as a “gift” or “reward” for being granted those State briefs.

The cases were adjourned to June 28, for a case management conference.

Outside the court, Ramlogan told reporters that he due course the truth would be revealed that that he had faith in his attorney.

Ramdeen left without taking questions.

The charges relate to the alleged kickback of millions of dollars to Ramlogan by British Queen’s Counsel Vincent Nelson after he received multiple State briefs from the Office of the Attorney General.

Vincent himself appeared before Earle-Caddle on Thursday on three conspiracy charges and has reached a plea agreement with the prosecution in exchange for his testimony against Ramlogan and Ramdeen.

At his court appearance, Nelson was granted bail in the sum of $100,000 to cover all three charges.

The matters are to be transferred to the High Court in accordance with provisions of the newly-proclaimed Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Act.

He is expected to be sentenced sometime later this month, at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, after pleading guilty to the offences.

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