Thursday, May 2, 2013

Monteil facing charges for no-show at CLICO probe but Duprey gets off scott free

Lawrence Duprey
Lawrence Duprey and Andre Monteil failed to show for Wednesday's sitting of the CLICO enquiry but commissioner Sir Anthony Colman said he could not initiative any legal proceeding against the former CL Executive Chairman. 

However, it was a different story for Monteil, the former finance director of CL Financial. Sir Anthony initiated legal proceedings against Monteil for not showing up to testify. So why did Duprey escape?

Sir Anthony said it was simply because Duprey does not live in Trinidad and Tobago. He said, "There is no power that I have to serve outside of the jurisdiction of the Trinidad courts, any witness summons on him in the United States, where he lives." 

He added, "Equally there is no facility for extraditing him on the grounds that he has failed to comply with the witness summons which has in fact been issued but because of his absence abroad, has not been served on him...

"I have no remedy for dealing with this situation at all. There is nothing in the Commission of Enquiry Act which enables me to take any action against Mr Duprey. Whether people consider that is a defect in the Act is basically a political issue and one which I do not presently comment.
Accordingly Mr Duprey will not be giving evidence." 

Sir Anthony said he would have to rely on a witness statement that Duprey gave some time ago.

Duprey was head of the failed CL Financial. The government at the time led by former Prime Minister Patrick Manning provided a bailout package but it was the new People's Partnership that had to bear the brunt of the cost.

So far the state has pumped over $21 billion into CLICO as part of a rescue operation. Up to now Duprey has not faced any legal sanctions except for a criminal investigation announced by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan told the Express newspaper Wednesday should criminal charges be laid, "I would not hesitate to request his extradition if the circumstances so warrant."
With respect to the Monteil matter, Monteil's attorney told the enquiry in a letter the list of questions served on Monteil last Monday violated his "constitutional and statutory rights, including the privilege against self-incrimination."
Andre Monteil

The letter to the enquiry stated that Monteil had sufficient cause, not to attend "or to be required to go into the witness box and be required to answer any of the said 105 questions."

However, Sir Anthony disagreed and made it clear that the ruling which he gave on April 18 to have Monteil appear was not subject to appeal. 

“Accordingly having decided that it is not open to Mr Monteil to rely upon the privilege of self-incrimination without first going into the witness box...I shall direct the Secretary to commence proceedings under Section 12 of the CoE act against him. It means that Monteil could face the penalty of a $2,000 fine, if found guilty," he said.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai