Ramlogan steps aside from probe

T&T Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has temporarily relinquished his responsibilities for the Central Authority, paving the way for the police investigating the e-mail matter to seek foreign assistance if they need it.

Sources said yesterday that Ramlogan wrote to the head of the Central Authority, Netram Kowlessar, last month recusing himself from all duties and responsibilities affiliated with the investigation of the 31 e-mails raised by Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley in Parliament, and delegated all responsibilities to Kowlessar.

Kowlessar, the T&T Guardian learnt, in response to the AG’s letter, which was dated May 21, queried whether Ramlogan was sure he wanted to shift such a responsibility to him. The AG said yes. Under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the AG “may delegate any of his functions under this act to any public officer or legal officer employed in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs”.

The AG’s recusal now means Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson and his investigative team can go through the Central Authority to seek assistance from foreign parties. There had been a call from several quarters, both legal and political, for Ramlogan to step aside during the investigation, since via the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, his office would have liaised with some of the international bodies the police would seek assistance from.

Calls to Ramlogan’s cellphone yesterday were not answered, but when the T&T Guardian contacted Kowlessar yesterday, he directed all calls to Ramlogan.

“I would prefer not to comment. Seek a comment from the AG,” Kowlessar said.

Asked whether any requests had come to the Central Authority seeking the invocation of the MLAT, Kowlessar said: “At this point in time, no written request has been made.”

He added that he would have to treat with such a request if it came.

“Requests are confidential and we will not be making pronouncements where this is concerned,” he said. “It’s something not really published or advertised because of the level of confidentiality, hence the reason you will not get a release from the Central Authority stating this. It will not be proper for the Central Authority to make such statements because of the level of confidentiality.”

Two of the e-mail server domains which the police will have to probe – Gmail and Yahoo – are owned by companies based in the United States. On May 22, Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC, also recused himself because he too was named in the e-mails, which Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley claimed were fed to him by a whistle-blower. (Guardian)

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