Trinidad – 17 days left
US has until July 26 to make request for Warner
PORT OF SPAIN – The United States has only 17 more days to make an official request to the Office of the Attorney General’s Central Authority Department for the extradition of former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner who is wanted in that country on corruption charges.
If the request is not made by July 26, Warner can make an application to the court and may be discharged from custody.
This was stated yesterday when Warner made his second appearance before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Port of Spain Court after surrendering himself to Fraud Squad officers on May 27, when he became aware that the US Justice Department issued a provisional warrant for his arrest.
The 72-year-old politician has been indicted in the US on charges of bribery, money laundering, corruption and wire fraud conspiracy arising out of investigations conducted by the US government. The offences were alleged to have taken place both in the United States and Trinidad and Tobago between 1990 and 2011 during Warner’s time as FIFA’s vice-president.
During the appearance, British Queen’s Counsel Allan Newman, who along with James Lewis QC, was retained by the State to head the extradition proceedings, said that to date, the Attorney General’s Office has not received the request from the United States.
Newman said under Article 9 (4) of the Treaty signed between this country and the United States, the US has 60 days in which to make the request, making the deadline July 26.
Article 9 (4) states: “A person who is provisionally arrested my be discharged from custody upon the expiration of 60 days from the date of provisional arrest pursuant to this Treaty if the executive authority of the Requested State has not received the formal request for extradition . . .”
But Newman also submitted that even though this was so, the discretion was also up to the magistrate on whether Warner should be immediately discharged or if the time the provisional arrest remain in effect should be extended. He pointed out that when the formal request is received, given that the case is not a straight forward one, Attorney General Garvin Nicholas would need some time to review the evidence to determine if the extradition proceedings should go on or whether the extradition would be refused. This he said, may go beyond the July 26, deadline.
Newman requested that the magistrate adjourn the matter to August 10.
However, Warner’s lead attorney Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein objected to this adjournment date saying once the 60 days have passed, his client should be immediately discharged.
“Forty-three days have gone by without the request being made. The proper adjournment date I think should be July 27. On that day you can do two things: know if the request has been made and if the request has not been made, Mr Warner should go free,” he said.
Hosein added it was against the principle of fundamental justice for Warner to not be released after the expiration of the 60-day period.
Newman said he did not have any objection to the matter being adjourned to the day suggested by Hosein, for the court to be made aware of whether or not the formal request had been received.
Ayers-Caesar said the matter would be for mention and gave the assurance she will not be moving to discharge Warner on that day if the request was not made by that time.
Also representing Warner are attorneys Nyree Alphonso, Rishi Dass and Anil Maharaj. Appearing alongside Newman and Lewis for the Central Authority are: Pamela Elder SC, Israel Khan SC, Jagdeo Singh, Gerald Ramdeen, Wayne Sturge and head of the Central Authority Netram Kowlessar.