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Case against Panday closes today

Friday, June 15 2007

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BANKER TESTIFIES:  Peggy Parkinson was one of several bankers called to the stand in the ongoing inquiry in the Port-of-Spain First Magistrates' Court...
BANKER TESTIFIES: Peggy Parkinson was one of several bankers called to the stand in the ongoing inquiry in the Port-of-Spain First Magistrates' Court...

THE STATE expects to close its case today in the ‘Piarco 3’ preliminary inquiry in which UNC leader Basdeo Panday stands charged with corruptly receiving bribes stemming from the Piarco International Airport project.

But first, presiding Magistrate Ejenny Espinet will have to make a ruling as to the admissibility of bankers’ evidence in the inquiry, an issue which had raised thorny legal questions and taxed the minds of counsel involved in the litigation.

The issue of bankers’ privilege and whether it was a bar to having bankers give testimony against their clients first came up on Monday in the Port-of-Spain First Magistrates’ Court when two fraud officers from British banks were brought to the inquiry to give evidence. Since then several local bankers, including Compliance Officer Peggy Parkinson of Republic Bank, have taken the stand.

Parkinson was re-called to the stand yesterday to be cross-examined along with five other witnesses including ACP and Head of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Maurice Piggott, Clerk of the Peace Eugene Prince, Republic Bank Woodbrook Branch Manager Shantie Ramoutar and Deputy Registrar General Karen Bridgewater.

Ishwar Galbaransingh, Carlos John, Panday and his wife Oma are charged with a series of offences which allege that Galbaransingh and John gave Panday GBP 25,000 as a bribe to favour Galbaransingh’s Northern Construction Limited in the tendering process for Piarco Construction Package 3 back in December 1998.

When Panday arrived in court this morning, an onlooker on St Vincent Street shouted, “Panday, we love you!”

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