Attorney General dismisses allegations of witness tampering

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Attorney general Anand Ramlogan

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday January 26, 2015, CMC – Attorney general Anand Ramlogan has denied ever asking the chairman of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) David West to withdraw his witness statement in a defamation case against Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

“I wish to categorically refute and deny the allegation that I asked PCA Chairman David West to withdraw his witness statement during a telephone conversation which allegedly took place on October 31st, 2014 or at any time thereafter,” Ramlogan said in a statement released here on Sunday night.

The Sunday Express newspaper reported that Ramlogan had refused to confirm or deny an allegation that six days before West was appointed PCA director, he asked him to withdraw his witness statement in a defamation lawsuit relating to the failed extradition involving Section 34 applicants Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh in exchange for him being selected for the job.

The defamation lawsuit stemmed from statements Ramlogan claimed Rowley made during a news conference on November 8, 2011, relating to Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh’s ruling in which he quashed the Attorney General’s decision to order the extradition of Ferguson and Galbaransingh, arising out of the Piarco International Airport enquiry.

The newspaper reported that Ramlogan had made telephone calls to West on the issue, noting that following one of those calls “West sought legal advice about the request for the witness statement in the defamation matter to be withdrawn”.

West was appointed PCA director on November 7, last year.

But in his statement, Ramlogan said while he was and remained reluctant to comment on a matter in which he is the claimant that is awaiting trial before the High Court “I was only aware that Mr. West had filed a witness statement in this case when it was served on my Attorneys on December 22nd, 2014. The said witness statement had in fact been filed in court a mere two days before.

“It is impossible for me to have asked Mr. West on October 31, 2014 to withdraw a witness statement which only came into existence almost two months later. I could not have possibly asked Mr. West to not give evidence against me in favour of Dr. Rowley’s defence in exchange for him being appointed Chairman of the PCA as this appointment is made by the President of the country and not the AG,” he added.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Congress of the People (COP) Prakash Ramadhar, who is also Legal Affairs Minister, said he has summoned an extraordinary meeting of the party executive to discuss the matter. The COP is the second largest member of the coalition People’s Partnership government.

The civil society group, Fixin’ T&T, has also issued a statement calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar to dismiss Ramlogan and for the police to launch a criminal investigation.

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