T&T Points Fingers
Government has initiated legal action against nine former officials of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) on allegations of corruption during their tenure.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian hours after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley revealed that the lawsuit had been filed on Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said it was the first to arise out of extensive audits and investigations ordered by the People’s National Movement (PNM) Government after assuming office in September last year.
“In this particular matter, there are nine defendants, including public officials and persons who have had control of certain entities of the State,” Al-Rawi said.
“The nature of matters surround the core of corruption, unjust enrichment, the breach of certain duties but it is squarely designed to tackle corruption, mismanagement and to ask people to account for what they have done.”
While Al-Rawi repeatedly said he could not reveal the parties named in the lawsuit and the wrongdoing they are alleged to have committed as the case was at a sensitive stage, the T&T Guardian understands it involves former officials of HDC, a state-run company which falls under the Ministry of Housing.
“You would know that some time ago I also made a commitment not to do what my predecessors had done, which is to give chapter and verse and campaigning in relation to litigation really because we are adamant that due process ought to be followed and that the courts will be the ultimate arbiter of the matters which are under investigation,” Al-Rawi said.
Though he was tight-lipped on the issue, Al-Rawi did admit the lawsuit was a multi-million-dollar claim.
Al-Rawi also said the same approach used in the case would apply to officials of his Government, in the event they were similarly accused of corrupt activities.
He also expressed optimism over the Government’s chances of succeeding in the case.
“I can tell you that we are absolutely certain and very confident in what we have brought in the courts already. We are also very confident that the other matters we have in gear will be managed very shortly,” he said.
In addition to the civil claim, Al-Rawi revealed that criminal prosecutions may also arise from the Government’s investigations. (Trinidad Guardian)
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