Saturday, December 16, 2017

$9.8m in briefs from AG to Khan

Criminal attorney Israel Khan, SC has received briefs totalling $9.8 million from May 2010 to April, 2014 from the Office of the Attorney General.

Invoices submitted to the AG’s office and obtained by the Sunday Express showed that Khan, along with attorneys Larry Lalla, Gerald Ramdeen, Seenath Jairam, SC, Wayne Sturge and Varun Debdieen also received compensation for State briefs through the AG’s office.

According to the documents received Lalla has been paid $5 million, Ramdeen $11.1 million, Jairam $7.3 million, Sturge $2.3 million and Debideen $190,000.

Last December, the Sunday Express exclusively reported on money paid to several attorneys from June 2010-October 2013. Since then additional sums have been paid to Jairam and Ramdeen following approval of their invoices.

Additionally, the Sunday Express through the invoices obtained last December, showed that beneficiaries also included Queen’s Counsel Allan Newman, Fenton Ramsahoye, SC, Kelvin Ramkissoon, Jagdeo Singh and Avory Sinanan, SC.

For the period June 2010 to October 2013, Newman received $14,474,613.54; Ramdeen $10,443,423; Ramsahoye $7,750,096; Sinanan $6,568,225; Ramkissoon $5,924,631.80; Jairam $4,478,847.50; and Singh $3,728,832.97.

Services rendered  included professional legal advice, court appearances, investigations, judicial review applications and Appeal Court appearances.

Khan was last year appointed chairman of the Firearms Appeal Board. He is also the chairman of the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority, while Jairam is president of the Law Association.

Sturge is chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, a statutory board of the Ministry of Justice. He is also a member of the Legislative Reform Commission, while Ramdeen was a member of the A-team appointed by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to probe the University of T&T, State-owned Petrotrin, eTeCK and other State entities.

Last week National Security Minister Gary Griffith was expected to answer several questions posed by People’s National Movement Senator Camille Robinson-Regis.

The questions asked included the period of services provided by four senior counsel, who were engaged by the T&T Police Service, to consult and advise the TTPS regarding the arrest of certain people under the Anti-Gang legislation and the gathering and preparation of evidence against these persons, during the period of the State of Public Emergency on August 21, 2011.

Robinson-Regis also asked that the total sums paid to the said attorneys be revealed.

Checks by the Sunday Express showed the attorneys in question are Pamela Elder, SC, Israel Khan, SC, the late Dana Seetahal, SC and the late Theodore Guerra, SC.

During the budget debate on September 22, 2010, Ramlogan told the Senate that under the previous administration, “$84 million in legal fees was paid to ten lawyers” during 2001-2010.

He said: “The total legal fees paid by my Ministry to just ten local legal friends of the PNM amounted to just over $84 million...ten persons’ names regimentally appear each year.”