|AG welcomes all email probes |
By Andre Bagoo Tuesday, August 26 2014
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Well done Keona: Attorney General (AG) Anand Ramlogan kisses four-year-old Keona Thomas a participant in a vacation camp at Cabildo Chambers, Port-of-...
ATTORNEY General Anand Ramlogan yesterday welcomed continued investigations by the Integrity Commission and the Police Service into the purported emails which were the basis of an Opposition no-confidence motion against the Government, saying he intends to submit a legal document from Google to the Commission.
On Sunday, Ramlogan announced he had obtained an affidavit stating the purported emails contained in printed documents flourished in the Parliament by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in fact did not exist.
“We intend to submit the sworn affidavit from Google to the Integrity Commission; the Commissioner of Police; the Director of Public Prosecutions; and we intend to take legal action in this matter,” Ramlogan said, speaking after a function to distribute certificates to interns at Cabildo Chambers, Port-of-Spain. “I anticipate that will be done by the end of the week.”
Ramlogan continued, “I am very happy for the investigations to continue by the Integrity Commission and Police Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions and any other agency because I welcome and want to have further vindication in this matter. Most importantly, I want for those investigations to take an important twist: to focus not only on clearing our names but also who are the perpetrators of this malicious and sinister political plot that was designed to remove the Government from office without a democratic election?”
The Attorney General continued, “I am very concerned that the Integrity Commission proceeds with its investigation so that we can have independent clearance by the Commission, by the Police Service in the same way we have had clearance by the independent Google. It is not that AG has cleared himself; it is not that I have conducted an investigation.”
Ramlogan said he paid for his legal costs in relation to seeking an affidavit from Google.
That matter saw him retain Senior Counsel Pamela Elder, as well as a US law firm.
Ramlogan said he had started drafting legal action against Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and was researching other laws, seeking clarification of Rowley’s duties before flourishing materials in Parliament.
“I have paid for the litigation on my own,” the Attorney General said. “In the same way I, as a citizen, just like Dr Rowley, exercised my right to defend my reputation that I have worked hard to build in this country throughout my lifetime. It has been paid for by personal funds, but I have speared no expense because I know I will be getting re-imbursement from Dr Rowley. When I sue all my legal bills will be claimed as special damages, I have spared no expense to hire the best lawyers that money can buy because I know that money will be returned to me.”
Ramlogan estimated a claim for damages in excess of $1 million.
On ongoing proceedings brought by the Integrity Commission, Ramlogan stated if there is material relevant to a case, it must be disclosed by law.
“The objective in sharing the report is something that is mandated by law,” he said. “This declaration by Google shatters the spinal column of the email threads which have been proven to be false.
It will be a matter for the judge to deal with that matter.” He once more said he did not seek to interfere with the Commission’s information but rather, wary of an expiry period beyond which material would not be preserved, sought “to protect and preserve the information.”
“When I realised time was passing and no one was speaking to Google, I had to take matters into my own hands,” Ramlogan said.
At the same time the Attorney General expressed concern over the Integrity Commission’s chairman, Ken Gordon, commenting on the case publicly, in circumstances where he had recused himself from the case because of a secret night meeting at his private home with Rowley. Ramlogan further queried the reported scope of a court action brought by the Commission, which seeks validation of emails not mentioned in the materials furnished in Parliament, on the reported basis that an error of transcription could have been made.
“I was quite surprised to see that the Integrity Commission would speculate and ask for an email address that was not contained in the document,” he said, noting it has been reported the Commission is seeking validation of “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Ramlogan continued, “If it is not in the document I would not be able to ask Google to search. They said perhaps someone made a spelling error. But 97 percent of the time they were making that copy they repeated the same spelling error. In fact, the valid email address was copied less than five percent of the time. So if they are copying something this important, one would have thought that the spelling error would be corrected lower down. But they made the alleged error consistently throughout the document.”
The email scandal relates to a claim by Rowley that the Prime Minister, Ramlogan, as well as Government Ministers Dr Roodal Moonilal, Gary Griffith and Dr Suruj Rambachan, exchanged a series of emails which suggested a ploy to harm a journalist and sweeten the Office of the DPP.