Khan: DPP statement proof of Manning’s statement
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, March 3 2013
Citizens will soon realise they made a “blunder” in voting the People’s Partnership Government into power.
So said People’s National Movement (PNM) Chairman Franklin Khan in response to the news that former Prime Minister and PNM leader Patrick Manning was cleared of wrongdoing in matters relating to construction of the Lighthouse of Our Lord Jesus Christ Church on State Lands in the Heights of Guanapo, Arima, several years ago.
“Mr Manning has been vindicated for a lot of things that he has been accused of that led to the demise of his administration. Of major prominence was the church and Reverend Juliana Pena,” Khan said yesterday.
Late on Friday, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard issued an eight-page statement, indicating that Manning was cleared of impropriety in the police investigation which had been launched to determine his involvement in the controversial project.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had called for a police investigation into the matter after the People’s Partnership assumed office in May 2010.
Gaspard said in the statement, “I am of the considered opinion that the police investigation has not revealed any actionable offences arising out of the Prime Minister’s concerns, or otherwise. In fact, the police have indicated to me that their investigations had revealed ‘no indication of criminal misconduct.’ I categorically agree.”
He also said, however, that “my instructions from the police suggest that a forensic audit is being undertaken into this matter on behalf of the Integrity Commission. If any new and cogent evidence were to be brought to my attention, I undertake to revisit this matter.”
Khan said yesterday the DPP’s statement was proof of Manning’s innocence.
“The construction of the church and the involvement of Calder Hart (former UdeCott chairman) was a key campaign issue of the Partnership during their campaign,” he said. “I do not wish to comment on the spiritual link with Reverend Pena but certainly, in terms of the State, obviously there was no impropriety. It is a victory for Mr Manning, personally.”
Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner had first raised allegations in the Parliament that the church at the Heights of Guanapo was associated with Manning during a sitting of the House of Representatives on February 19, 2010.
There were subsequent allegations that the church was being built at a whopping cost of $30 million for “prophetess” Juliana Pena.
Several days later, on February 25, Manning denied the church was being built with State funds and insisted it did not belong to him.