The Integrity Commission has denied any suggestion that it has completed its investigation into “Emailgate”, despite the People’s Partnership Government’s suspension of Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley from Parliament yesterday.
Leader of Government Business Dr Roodal Moonilal moved a motion of censure against Rowley for supposedly bringing false information to the House of Representatives when he brought some 31 e-mails to Parliament two years ago. And the Government successfully ousted Rowley via a simple majority.
However, the Integrity Commission, in response to a request from Fixin’ T&T, revealed today that it has not completed its investigation into the controversial emails.
“The Integrity Commission is in the final stages of considering a number of documents relevant to that matter,” stated IC registrar Martin Farrell, “and will be replying to you very shortly on its status.”
Farrell also revealed that the IC has opened investigations into the “practices and procedures of the National Gas Company” so as to determine whether there is evidence of corruption within the State body.
The following is the request for information from Fixin’ T&T and the response from the Integrity Commission:
FIXIN’ T&T insists that the Integrity Commission (IC) immediately provides the people with an update on its investigation into ‘Emailgate.’
Doing so has become dire by virtue of the fact that our Leader of the Opposition in our Parliament has been suspended, based in part, on documents our Government claims to have from the IC’s probe into this matter.
Only last week Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar reportedly asserted that she is in possession of a ‘file’ containing information (that) the IC requested from Google, which show the emails had no truth.
More than six months have elapsed since the IC’s last update in October 2014 (when) it advised that Google had requested more time.
We call on the IC to immediately tell the public whether:
1. A detailed response from Google has been received
2. The investigation into ‘Emailgate’ has been concluded
3. It is aware of information which the IC requested from Google being passed on to the PM or anyone else
Our letter to the IC dated April 21, 2015 is attached for ease of reference:
April 21, 2015
Justice Zainool Hosein (Retired)
The Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago
Tower D, Level 14
International Waterfront Centre
1A Wrightson Road
Port of Spain
Dear Justice Hosein,
We write to insist that the Integrity Commission (IC):
1. Provide an update on its investigation into ‘Emailgate’
2. Investigate the National Gas Company (NGC)
More than six months have elapsed since the IC’s last update in October 2014 where it advised that Google had requested more time. To say that the allegations made in this ‘Emailgate’ scandal were serious would be an understatement. Many among us were traumatized by this event.
The need for THE PEOPLE to be kept current on this probe into the veracity of these emails is therefore dire.
If one has not yet been undertaken, we now formally request that the IC immediately launch an investigation into the NGC.
The contents of the articles by journalist Asha Javeed resulting from a draft audit report on Corporate Communications Management and Procurement at that most profitable State Company are deeply troubling. Of even greater concern are the responses of the NGC which at no point included any semblance of denial.
Instead of heeding the advice of its former Chief Audit Executive Claire Gomez-Miller to treat with the findings in a transparent manner the NGC seems to be seeking to:
∑ Discredit, intimidate and sideline some of the auditors involved
∑ Muzzle the Media
∑ Finger the Whistleblower
We find this untenable. A thorough independent investigation is required; a Tribunal may be necessary.
The NGC belongs to THE PEOPLE. Full disclosure and transparency must become the order of the day if we are to safeguard our patrimony and move our Trinidad & Tobago effectively and efficiently forward.
We look forward to your response and urgent attention to these matters.
The Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago
May 7, 2015
Mr Kirk Waithe,
I wish to refer to your letter of April 21, 2015 and to advise that I have been directed by the Integrity Commission to respond as follows:
- Re: Stats of Investigation into “Emailgate”
The Integrity Commission is in the final stages of considering a number of documents relevant to that matter and will be replying to you very shortly on its status;
2) Re: Your request to “investigate the National Gas Company”
In respect of your organisation’s request, the Commission has decided to examine the practices and procedures of the National Gas Company pursuant to section 5 (1) (g)&(h) of the Integrity in Public Life Act (the Act).
Section 5 (1)(g)&(h) of the Act states that the Commission shall:
“(g) examine the practices and procedures of public bodies, in order to facilitate the discovery of corrupt practices;
(h) instruct, advise and assist the heads of public bodies of changes in practices or procedures which may be necessary to reduce the occurrence of corrupt practices.”