One month ago, Newsday reported that the police investigating team submitted its report, stating that they found no acts of criminal conduct against anyone.
Eleven months ago, the Integrity Commission closed its investigations and cleared former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, now Leader of the Opposition.
Why is the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions staying silent on this matter?
According to the Newsday dated March 4, 2016, the police team probing emailgate had finally submitted their findings into the investigation bringing an end to two years and ten months of intense investigations into allegations of criminal misconduct on the part of former government ministers.
Sources revealed that officers received the final two discs containing information from Hotmail accounts of former Minister of Works Suruj Rambachan and former Minister of National Security Gary Griffith, late last year.
Officers sifted through information on the discs, but found nothing to suggest criminal misconduct on the part of the former ministers. In fact, the entire emailgate investigation by officers assigned to the probe, resulted in nothing being found to implicate former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and former Housing Minister, Roodal Moonilal.
The final report is now on the desk of Deputy Police Commissioner Glen Hackett, who has sent the report to Deputy Director of Prosecutions (South) Joan Honore- Paul, who will review the findings and give a final direction in the matter.
Newsday understands Hackett is awaiting those instructions before informing the public about the conclusion of the probe.
In May 2013, then Opposition Leader (now Prime Minister) Dr Keith Rowley alleged a conspiracy to murder a journalist among other things, during a motion of no-confidence against the Government.
He produced what were purported to be email exchanges between a range of Government officials, including then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and then Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, in relation to the circumstances surrounding the early proclamation of a law that barred prosecution to persons on charges more than ten years old — a move which potentially could have freed two reported UNC financiers of white-collar crime charges.
The matter was subsequently dubbed Emailgate. Sources revealed yesterday that the police have recommended that no further police action should be carried out in this matter. However, they still have to await final guidance from Deputy DPP Honore-Paul.
The Registrar of the Integrity Commission has today, 19th May 2015, written to Attorney-at-law Mr. Israel Khan, S.C. in his capacity as Attorney for the Hon. Prime Minister in connection with the “Emailgate” allegations.
“… the Commission, pursuant to section 34(6) of the Act is satisfied that there are no or insufficient grounds for continuing the investigation into the above matter and accordingly this investigation is hereby terminated.”
WHAT ROWLEY ALLEGED
This alleged cover up involved a major conspiracy against:
1) the Director of Public Prosecutions
2) a plot to harm and discredit reporter Denyse Renne and
3) the payment of monies in exchange for freedom by an unnamed person. The e-mails coincided with the time when public outrage over the Section 34 scandal had reached its height in October and November 2012.
Rowley quoted from an e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org, sent to email@example.com on the subject “Monies Owed” which stated: “I scoff that it’s too much. We are the ones taking the risk. At the end of this, I want a helipad on my roof top. There is no price for freedom. They know this”.
Rowley said he wanted the Attorney General to say “who is it whose freedom is being bought and what was meant by “no price for freedom”.
He said in another e-mail “kamlapb1 tells anan@gmail: “I am worried AG, I do not want this to blow up in our faces. Tone down the request and focus elsewhere for now”.
Rowley said the e-mails also indicated that there was an attempt to plant a bug in the DPP’s office. He quoted from an e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com sent on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 1.33 a.m.: “We have a problem. Things are getting heated. Need access to taps in DPP office. I want to know what his next move is. How soon can you arrange?”
Said Rowley: “And of course, the captain, whoever he is, captain Gary Griffith “replies seven minutes later” stating “Will call SSA and get B. Dhanpat is out of the country. He would be against this move. You know he leaks”. Rowley said checks revealed that Dhanpat was in fact out of the country at this particular time and the B referred to “in our interpretation” is the head of the SSA, Bisnath Maharaj.
A further e-mail from “the captain” says: “Everything is already in place in the DPP office”.
The e-mails also showed, according to Rowley, that after the US Embassy and the DPP issued strong statements on the Section 34 matter, firstname.lastname@example.org received from email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org at 9.21 on the night of September 11 an e-mail message which stated: “Right now our best bet will be giving Gaspard a position on the bench..We could also feed our media people that Gaspard was part of the consultation at the Hall of Justice this year and he did not have a problem at the meeting. Let us try the judge position first.”
Kamlapb1@gmail responded with this suggestion: “Have a chat with Archie. Let them offer him the position. Archie is normally cooperative”.
Rowley then commented: “Clearly they had a problem apparently with the DPP and that problem could only be solved by him being removed and somebody else—as they say, bring in a replacement. I was not aware that somebody could bring in a replacement without interfering in the judicial process.”
But the most alarming e-mails, quoted by Rowley, related to the alleged efforts to silence, discredit and even injure reporter, Denyse Renne.
The e-mail of September 8 reveals that the “Attorney General is asking help from Captain Griffith to stop a story”. The e-mail stated: “There is an article from the Guardian that a reporter from the Guardian called me involving our boys. I need you to get your feelers out there and nip the story”.
Rowley said “lo and behold” in the Sunday Guardian of September 9, under Denyse Renne’s byline the lead story was “Piarco airport cases to be dropped” which detailed how the proclamation of the controversial Section 34 would allow Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson to avoid prosecution.
Following this, an e-mail from email@example.com asking firstname.lastname@example.org: “what is going on? Did you see the article? I thought you had friends in the Guardian. How could this happen?”.
Rowley said the reply (from email@example.com) stated: “I saw the article. Not to worry. Remember the Opposition supported this. That will be our defence.”
The language used particularly by anan@gmail was extremely colourful. Rowley noted that “anan” was panicking as the Guardian reporter, Renne wrote another story stating that the Attorney General ignored the advice given by extradition expert James Lewis QC on the extradition of Galbaransingh and Ferguson. “Spoke with the PM and she is furious about the article. What about the reporter? Tag her as well”, Griffith asked “anan”, Rowley said, quoted the e-mail. Rowley satirised that PM “whoever that is, probably project manager—was angry”.
Anan replied: “That f… whore don’t have f.. on me. More than likely she called Thomas at the Embassy. Do a trace on her. Every reporter has skeletons in their closet, and post it to our Facebook people. Find out how the f… she quoted from something (Lewis’ opinion) that she has no access to. I want this by this evening and I want to know who is her source?”
Rowley stated: “When the rest of us are in our beds, seven minutes to midnight, whoever is firstname.lastname@example.org cyar sleep, “and wrote the following e-mail on September 10: “The US contacted me and are f… angry. I thought you had a hold on this. This will cause major backlash. They even threatened to blacklist us. Come up with a plan, AG”.
The response to this e-mail was: “She (the reporter) has a file. It is really touch and go. She was in Florida at an institution in 2003, attempted suicide. Her family are PNM. Dad was in jail and recently released. Also added some stuff and sent it to facebook, they will take it from there”.
Said Rowley: “All that he…whoever that Captain Griffith is…was digging up was not enough. He (captain) say, ‘I will add some stuff’..We see in an e-mail that somebody is going to set out to defame and slander her (Renne). And of course, we have the corroboration of the e-mail attacking the report in the context of the timing of this e-mail. (There was a poison e-mail against Renne which was sent to many persons).
Rowley said that by September 19, an email from email@example.com goes to firstname.lastname@example.org stating: “This bitch is becoming a problem to me. I am told she has copies of documents and possibly cheques. I don’t want to leave anything to chance. I want that dealt with. Find a way. I passed info to FB – (that is Facebook)- and they would f.. her up. That’s not enough”.
“Do something else to slow her up. PM is angry. I assured her that things will be good. I feel like I failed. Just deal with that bitch soon. If she has what I think, then we will all be implicated”.
Asked Rowley: “Who is so panicked by a reporter who might have cheques and who might be in a position to implicate all of them?”
Rowley said “suruj” replied: “What do you have in mind? Does she drive, walk? Do you know her movements? She should meet and discuss”.
The Opposition Leader said email@example.com replied: “I don’t care what you do. Just deal with the problem soon. Gary has the file on her. Whatever is done, let it be done through a third party. This is getting out of hand. PM is frantic and is begging me for a distraction. I don’t think anything on Hart will provide that”.
Rowley said he presumed the Hart was Calder Hart.
Rowley said the e-mail from anan@gmail continued: “I gave her (the PM) assurance that things will be okay. I also advised her to get rid of Volney.” The PNM Leader noted that the e-mail was dated September 19 and Volney was fired shortly thereafter.
Rowley said he received these e-mails six months ago. He said the strength of the e-mail lay in the fact that the contents were corroborated by the developments in the country and the actions of the Government at the time. He said he had given the then President of the country (George Maxwell Richards) the e-mails. He said yesterday that he was calling on the DPP to investigate. He said the Integrity Commission was also critical because the e-mails pointed to misbehavior in public office. “I also call on the Integrity Commission to discharge its responsibility…And insofar as there is no Integrity Commission in place, I call on the President to immediately ensure that there is an Integrity Commission in place so that these matters can be investigated properly in short order”.