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‘Emailgate’ Probe Closed; No Evidence to Lay Charges

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Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar and three other former Government officials cleared of all charges arising out of the “emailgate” investigation. Persad Bissessar was the  Prime Minister under the last PP Government.

PORT-OF-SPAIN – POLICE have closed the “emailgate” investigation saying that there was not sufficient evidence for charges to be laid against anyone.

The probe stemmed from a series of emails purporting to be from four high ranking members of the former People’s Partnership Government that dealt with the controversial Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Offence) Amendment Act that was repealed.

Speaking today at the weekly police press briefing, ASP Michael Pierre said there was not enough evidence to prosecute anyone over the matter.

“The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution was not satisfied that a realistic prospect of conviction existed in relation to any identifiable suspect with regard to the offence of misconduct in public office or for any other offences against the laws of TT,” Pierre said.

‘Emailgate’

This probe came about after Dr. Keith Rowley as Opposition Leader read in Parliament a thread of 31 emails purporting striking similarities to the accounts of then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the attorney general Anand Ramlogan, then national security advisor and current Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and then government minister Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan.

The emails focused on a number of issues, namely an article in the Guardian newspaper by investigative reporter Denyse Renne on the proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Offence) Amendment Act on August 31, 2012; a conspiracy to murder Renne, the removal of Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard from office and other illegal acts.

The proclamation of Section 34 caused public outrage and demonstrations as it was viewed as benefitting United National Congress financiers Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson who were charged for a number offences arising out of the construction of the Piarco International Airport.

Section 34 provided an escape clause for people who were before the courts on serious charges including fraud and had not had a determination in their cases after ten years to, apply to have it dismissed. Galbaransingh and Ferguson fell in this category.

Bowing to public pressure, the Persad-Bissessar Government repealed the law in an emergency Parliamentary session in September 2013.

The former high court judge and then justice minister Herbert Volney who had introduced the legislation was fired in the affair.

In May 2015, the Integrity Commission closed a parallel investigation into “emialgate” citing “insufficient grounds” to pursue the probe. This caused the sudden resignation of deputy chairman of the Integrity Commission Sebastien Ventour and fellow commissioner Shelly-Anne Lalchan.

Then acting commissioner of police Stephen Williams sent the file to the DPP in 2015 after the police completed their investigations.

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