|DUPREY, A WANTED MAN |
By Clint Chan Tack Friday, May 3 2013
ATTORNEY General (AG) Anand Ramlogan yesterday said former CL Financial executive chairman Lawrence Duprey is now “a wanted man” as a result of his failure to appear before the Sir Anthony Colman Commission of Inquiry into the collapse of the Clico empire.
The AG seemed to hint that if Duprey is deemed to have committed an offence of an extraditable nature, he could be extradited from the United States (US) where he currently resides, to answer charges in this country.
He also said because of the complaints made against him during the course of the inquiry, Duprey ought to be “red-flagged” by immigration authorities, the second he enters this country.
Addressing the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, Ramlogan said Government is concerned that Duprey failed to appear before the inquiry.
“In a situation like that you will be a wanted man,” he said. Ramlogan explained the term “wanted man” meant Duprey was wanted to appear before the inquiry.
Asked if Duprey could be extradited from the US, Ramlogan replied, “If the offence is one that is extraditable, yes.” The AG explained that if someone failed to appear before a commission of inquiry “not only does it mean that you are liable to the criminal process but you also open up yourself to the findings and the conclusions and recommendations that will remain against the backdrop of your failure to attend.”
“Mr Duprey did not need a summons to tell him that he is wanted by a Commission of Inquiry. He has had lawyers appearing for him in the Commission of Inquiry,” Ramlogan stated. He said it was also clear “that somebody must keep in touch with him from Trinidad to tell him that, they want him to testify in a matter where he is the central protagonist and indeed the central figure and fountain-head of the Clico empire.”
“That would not have come as a shock to him,” Ramlogan quipped. The AG added, “Your non-appearance and your failure to cooperate, now provides the commission with a solid legal platform and foundation to make the kind of findings and adverse inferences based on the unanswered evidence and the unchallenged testimony that has gone on before the Commission of Inquiry.”
Ramlogan said Duprey’s non-appearance before the inquiry “no doubt will assist the criminal investigation that is underway.”
“The DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) has assembled a team that comprises an international auditing firm and experienced lawyers who are specialists in this particular field. That team is working assiduously and that criminal investigation is underway,” he declared.
The AG stated, “The Commission of Inquiry has by far served its purpose in that regard because it has prompted some action and it has acted as a catalyst for the criminal investigation.” Ramlogan said the population will now be waiting “with bated breath to Sir Anthony Colman’s final report which we expect will assist in the pursuit of social justice, one way or another.”
“The Government itself would obviously want to have answers as to whether or not the Police Service acted quickly when they knew that the Colman Commission of Inquiry into the collapse of Clico had in fact issued a warrant or summons for Duprey,” he said, “knowing that Mr Duprey resides in Fort Lauderdale or somewhere in America.”
The AG also wondered whether the police took steps to alert local immigration authorities or their police counterparts in the US.
“Moreso our immigration authorities ought to have been alerted that Mr Duprey ought to have been red-flagged in the system because the minute he enters our territorial airspace or waters, he is liable to be properly served with that summons,” the AG stated. Ramlogan said if the country’s immigration records show that “Mr Duprey, was allowed to enter and leave without being served, then that’s a serious indictment and it raised a lot of questions that require answers.”
“This is obviously a matter of grave and urgent public importance. It is a matter that requires some priority from the Police Service. One can only hope that was the approach taken by the Police Service,” Ramlogan said. The AG said he did not know if Duprey was in TT recently but if he was, it was a matter for the Commissioner of Police and the immigration authorities.
Explaining that in a constitutional democracy, “you can only make laws that are enforceable within your own territory and jurisdiction,” Ramlogan said, “A Parliament in Trinidad and Tobago constitutionally cannot make laws they can enforce on foreign soil. You can only do that by virtue of some sort of cooperation or permission with the foreign country.” He said this was why it was difficult for warrants to be served in foreign jurisdictions “when it comes to criminal proceedings.”
However Ramlogan noted that with respect to civil proceedings, he was able to serve former Udecott executive chairman Calder Hart outside of the jurisdiction “because the civil rules of the court permit for that.”