Thursday, July 18, 2013

AG Ramlogan wants Gordon to stay out of IC probe on emails

The Attorney General's lawyer has asked the chairman of the Integrity Commission (IC), Ken Gordon, to recuse himself from any investigation that the commission may undertake in the email matter raised in the Parliament by Opposition Leader Keith Rowley.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has done the same through her lawyer, Israel Khan, citing "apparent bias", which is the same point raised by Dana Seetahal on behalf of AG Anand Ramlogan.

Senior cabinet minister Suruj Ramba­chan agrees with that position but has not made any request so far. 

The letter on behalf of Ramlogan, which is 
addressed to the Registrar of the Commission, Martin Farrell, states:

"I am instructed to request that the chairman recuse himself or the Integrity Commission causes him to step down from participating or deliberating in any investigation that may be undertaken by the commission, regarding the authenticity of the alleged e-mails referred to and submitted to the House by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, during debate on the no-confidence motion in the Prime Minister and the Government on May 20, 2013." 

It noted that the meeting between Gordon and Rowley just five days before the no-confidence motion at which Rowley presented the emails has tainted the matter. The latter says that incident "must erode the appearance that justice by this commissioner may not be administered evenhandedly, in treating with members of the Government as opposed to members of the Opposition."

Neither Gordon nor Rowley reported the meeting until Leader of Government business Dr Roodal Moonilal spoke about it in Parliament. And even then what Gordon released was an aide memoire on the meeting, which is a record of the meeting as he remembered it. No one else was at that meeting and Rowley's version of the events did not match entirely with what Gordon stated.

That raised questions, which are noted in the letter. 

“The fair-minded observer is bound to take into account that no one but the chairman and the Leader of the Opposition can say what occurred at the meeting, and that they would effectively constitute the chief accuser, on the one hand, and the chief judge, on the other, about the allegations made by the former in respect of which he met with the latter,” the letter stated.

The letter also stated that the meeting must have been in breach of Section 7 (2) of the Integrity in Public Life Act, which requires that the registrar “shall” attend all meetings of the com­mission. 

Seetahal’s letter also drew reference to an interview that Gordon gave to the Express newspaper on June 19, 2013, in which he stated that he did the right thing and that the allegation that the meeting was part of a conspiracy was the “height of absurdity”.

Seetahal's letter addresses that issue: "The chairman in his interview also appears to prove himself to be intractable, even in the face of balanced criticisms...of his decision to meet with the Leader of the Opposition; and hostile in response to my client’s criticisms."

It added that the Attorney General wishes to "make his position clear on the desirability of the chairman presiding/sitting on any such investigation”.

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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