Google submits communication to Trinidad police on “emailgate” scandal

Google-Headquarters-740PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday March 4, 2015, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) says it has received communication from the internet service provider, Google, as investigations continue into allegations that Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and some of her senior government ministers were involved in a sinister plot to undermine the judiciary, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the media.

Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley had in 2013 told legislators that he had received in December 2012, a total of 31 emails, from a “whistle blower” indicating how operatives within the government had sought to undermine those institutions. He said he had passed them on to the Office of the President.

The government has denied the allegations and in some instances sought legal remedies.

The TTPS in a statement said that it had received the Google communication through the Central Authority of Trinidad and Tobago and that “the information contained in the communication is voluminous in nature and the alleged e-mails are being analysed by the TTPS to determine their authenticity.

“Commissioner of Police (Ag), Stephen Williams, has given the assurance the outcome of the investigation will be made public in due course.

“The Commissioner of Police recognises the importance of the issue to the general public and accordingly advises that the matter is being treated with the level of urgency required and expected,” the release said.

The announcement by the police came less than 24 hours after Prime Minister Persad Bissessar told a public meeting of her United National Congress (UNC) that she wanted the police to wrap up the investigations into so called “emailgate” scandal.

“I call upon the acting Commissioner of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to indicate what the position is in this regard. I’ve also asked my lawyers to make such representation on my behalf to their offices.

“If the e-mail information sent from the US authorities has in fact been received directly from Google by the police concerning my e-mail account and those of other ministers, then those investigations must move with dispatch, must move swiftly to conclude that investigation having regard of the serious nature of the allegations.

“I ask that the findings be made public as a matter of urgency so the damage done to our country’s reputation can be restored,” she said, warning Rowley to be prepared for more legal action.

In May 2013, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Roger Gaspard, recused himself from the investigation and delegated the responsibility of advising the police in the matter to his deputy Joan Honore-Paul Honore-Paul.

Gaspard had also recommended an international forensic investigation into “emailgate”.

Rowley had told Parliament that the emails, dating back to September 2012, were from people concerned with the government’s defence of the early proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act that had the effect of allowing people, whose trial has not started after a 10-year period to walk free and a verdict of not guilty entered against their names.

Critics say that the clause was aimed at supporting businessmen Ish Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson, who have been described as financiers of the ruling United National Congress (UNC), the biggest partner in the four-member coalition People’s Partnership government.

The two are facing fraud and laundering charges relating to the re-development of the Piarco International Airport in 2001. They are also wanted in the United States on a number of related charges.

The government later repealed the section and Prime Minister Persad Bissessar dismissed her then justice minister, Hebert Volney, a former High Court judge, on the grounds that he misled Cabinet into believing that the Chief Justice Ivor Archie and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Roger Gaspard, had supported the idea of the early proclamation.

Rowley told legislators that the contents of the email collaborated strongly with events that unfolded in the country in 2012 as the government sought to defend its decision over the controversial legislation and read into the Hansard, the exchange of correspondences between people with email addresses like “anan@gmail.com, kamlapb@gmail.com, surujrambachan@hotmail.com and garygriffith@hotmail.com purporting to come from senior government ministers and officials.

Prime Minister Persad Bissessar said while the email address was hers, she was not the author, and that she had passed them to the police for investigation.

The emails also linked former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, former national security minister Gary Griffith and the Works and Transport Minister Suruj Rambachan.

The Integrity Commission is also carrying out its own probe into the issue.

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