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BID TO BLOCK NEWSDAY

Saturday, August 16 2014

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Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran is seeking to block Newsday from publishing a story about the behaviour of an employee of the institution.

The Governor went as far as threatening the newspaper with an injunction to prevent reportage. This followed contact made with Rambarran yesterday by Newsday’s crime editor, Nalinee Seelal, for a comment on the allegations against the employee contained in an email circulating in the bank. Newsday has learnt so far that Rambarran has asked the police to probe the allegations. The story is being investigated further by Seelal and is yet to be completed.

However, well in advance of that completion, the Governor, acting through his attorney Kerwyn Garcia, faxed a letter to Newsday which was received at 4.45 pm yesterday addressed to the Editor in Chief demanding that Newsday “confirm to me in writing (via fax or email message to the fax number and/or email address indicated above), by no later than 6.30 pm today, that your newspaper will refrain from publishing any report related to the email or its contents or to the fact of and/or contents of this letter.”

He continued, “Should you fail to do so, I have Mr Rambarran’s instructions to apply for an injunction restraining you from so publishing any report related to the email or its contents or to the fact of and/or contents of this letter without further notice to you.”

Seelal contacted Rambarran shortly before noon yesterday informing him that the newspaper had received a copy of the email which had been circulated to staff in April of this year, and that he had reported the matter to the police to ascertain who was responsible for circulating the email to staff.

Rambarran replied that he had absolutely no comment to make on the matter. Pressed further as to whether he had reported the circulation of the email to the police, Rambarran said that if it was a police matter, he had no comment to make. Newsday learnt that the Police Cyber Crime Unit has already begun investigations to probe Rambarran’s concerns. They are liaising with the Central Bank’s Information and Communication Technology Department to assist their probe.

Garcia’s letter stated that the allegations in the email “are unarguably defamatory. There are no grounds for concluding that the allegations may be true. There is also no defence which might succeed in an action in defamation (which action can and will be brought if any such allegations are published).

Garcia’s letter further stated that “The email and the allegations contained in it constitute a defamatory libel, any repetition of which would be equally libelous and would expose the Newsday to civil and criminal prosecution.”

He also said that “Moreover, if the matter is in fact the subject of an ongoing police investigation, the publication of these matters by the press may have the effect of undermining and/or prejudicing the investigation.”

Garcia added, “It follows that, for all of the above reasons, your newspaper should refrain from publishing any report related to this matter, including the fact of and/or contents of this letter.”

Garcia also telephoned Newsday shortly before 6 pm and spoke with Assignments Editor Keino Swamber and asked if Newsday had received his faxed letter. He also wanted to know who he could speak with to ascertain if Newsday was in fact publishing any article about the contents of the email which had been circulating internally at the Central Bank.

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