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New email scandal

By Andre Bagoo Saturday, June 7 2014

GOVERNMENT Chief Whip Dr Roodal Moonilal yesterday said he would seek legal advice and described as “disturbing” what he said was the apparent interception of private emails of Government and public officials.

Moonilal called on PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley to state whether the party is involved in hacking, in the wake of statements being made on a PNM platform on Thursday.

In an immediate response, Rowley said, “No. We are not involved in email hacking.”

“As the Opposition of the country and the PNM being a political party, we receive all types of information from all kinds of persons.” he stated.

Rowley explained that once the PNM receives information in this way, it “may or may not engage the issue and make them public.”

“It is a very disturbing development when the PNM now has the capacity to intercept emails and BBMs and so on, text messages, even from Opposition,” Moonilal told reporters before yesterday’s sitting of the House of Representatives at the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.

“We are very disturbed by this trend that they can pick up emails sent to Cabinet ministers, public officials. In this case, Mr (Phillip) Alexander (a columnist) wrote concerning a proposal of which my only response was let’s discuss the merits or demerits as the case may be and that came into the hands of the PNM, a message between a sender and the receiver and I find that very troubling.” Moonilal issued a call for Rowley to clarify the matter.

“I think the first step is that the Opposition Leader needs to make a categorical statement that he is not involved or no official of his party is involved in hacking the emails of public officials and government ministers,” the Whip said. “I think it is a matter that the political leader of the PNM needs to address as to whether hacking Government members emails and public officials is part of his strategy for the general election.”

He continued, “I receive 100 emails everyday of which I give very short replies so I would have received this and asked Mr Alexander to discuss with me any proposal of plan he has. If anybody has a plan on politics and elections I invite them to discuss with me. I say no more I say no less. But it appears that my private email is subject to hacking by the PNM and that is a serious, serious matter.”

Moonilal alluded to legislation current on the books relating to cyber-crime.

“It is a crime to be involved in any illegal activity to intercept telephone conversations, emails, BBMs and so on,” he said. “I will be referring this matter to my attorneys and I will take their advice on it.”

Moonilal said the matter was not a single matter and noted Rowley had flourished purported emails in Parliament which Moonilal said were “fabricated”.

He also cited the claim by a PNM senator to having a document, “which he got from somewhere else.”

“And now you have these interception of communications by those who are in Opposition,” Moonilal said.

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