Former Housing Minister, Dr Roodal Moonilal, has described the release of text messages as a fabrication.
He was responding to a statement made on Monday by Minister in the Office of the Attorney General, Stuart Young, that Government was going after five contractors and three public officials, including Moonilal, to try and recover $203 million.
In a statement made after Young’s press conference, Moonilal said it was a deliberate attempt at mischief to defame him.
The following is Moonilal’s statement:
“Today, I was informed that the twin ministers at the Attorney General office filed a defense and counter claim against named contractors who first took action against the EMBDC for outstanding payments. The effect of their defense is to postpone the matters that they face in court from the contractors. The same government that threw out the Malcolm’s Jones civil action involving $ 16 billion filed a defense to accuse of corruption the same contractors that they recently hired. This is a ploy to stop the lawsuits against the government.
“The Attorney General prosecutes civil action on behalf of the government. Since last Thursday I learnt, after speaking in the Parliament, of the documents filed by the Attorney General in a matter in which there has been a deliberate attempt at political mischief and to undermine my integrity and character after I made serious allegations against the Attorney General.
“In a remarkable, incredulous and bewildering schedule to their defense they submit typed-up pages of what they call “text messages” which at best has been fabricated, manipulated, mutilated, shortened and carelessly arranged to paint a picture of civil wrong doings.
“This has been typed by the Attorney General and the Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General who both drafted and submitted this statement since they prosecute civil matters on behalf of the government. There are no screen shots, no full display of messages, no certificate of authenticity from any known service provider.
“In short, it was typed up by the Attorney General and Minister Young to suit their political purpose of smearing individuals and companies. The key objective is to stop the ongoing court matters against the government.
“The very companies named by the Minister have been awarded lucrative contracts by the PNM government yet they believe that those companies are corrupt.
“While the Minister has accused me of wrong doing, he refused to give any evidence apart from the typed up disjunctive lines very similar to the emailgate pages read out by the Opposition leader Keith Rowley in 2013.
“The pages submitted to the court bear an uncanny resemblance to the emailgate pages submitted by Rowley.
“The Minister made much of the provision of a housing unit to the former CEO of the EMBDC to suggest wrong doing. The same government felt it was proper policy for the HDC chairman Newman George in June 2016 to write the then acting Managing Director Brent Lyons to direct him to put in train recommendations from a former Minister of Government since he said “we may need him in the future for assistance”.
“The Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General presents no proof that I or, for that matter, any official of the HDC violated any policy to provide a housing unit to the said applicant. I remind the Minister that the HDC regularly receives recommendations from all and sundry from the President, the Prime Minister, Ministers of Government, Members of Parliament, business leaders, labour leaders and others for housing units for persons so recommended. The HDC undertakes to do interviews, assessments, and provide housing to applicants who meet all the requirements. This has been a policy in place since 2008 under the PNM Manning Administrations.
“I have instructed my Attorneys to write immediately to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to lodge a complaint against police officers who may have leaked a warrant to the member for Arouca/Maloney WPC Robinson-Regis who read what was purported to be a warrant into the parliament record. Bearing in mind that only an authorized police officer can hold and read a warrant.
“I have further instructed my lawyers to write the Commissioner of Police and the DPP on this matter where information has been sent to the police as the Minister admitted today, such information being incorrect, misleading and totally erroneous. This is an attempt to maliciously influence a police investigation.
“In this matter the two Ministers at the Attorney General Ministry are acting as detectives by typing up statements and portraying them as text messages. Sadly, this is an attempt to frame me and create political mischief. I am further disentitled since they cannot name me as a party so I have no way of defending myself in court against such spurious and wicked allegations.
“I find it strange that in the ongoing scandals in relation to the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) and the “fake oil” at Petrotrin that the Prime Minister and the Attorney General suggest that the Boards and management of state enterprises are culpable for alleged wrongdoing but in the matter of alleged wrongdoing at the EMBDC the Minister is responsible.