A photograph posted on social networking site WhatsApp, on a phone linked to Attorney General Anand Ramlogan's office recently sparked rumours that he purchased a Rolls Royce luxury vehicle.
The picture was of a pearl white Rolls Royce Ghost registered PCY 118, which can range in price from 175,000 to 250,000 pounds sterling.
But Ramlogan yesterday denied that he was the owner of the luxury vehicle, saying that he owned a PCY Range Rover.
He said while he welcomed it as part of a functioning democracy, he was under more public scrutiny than his predecessors.
The PCY 118 Rolls Royce, estimated to cost about TT$3.5 million is registered to D Rampersad and Company Ltd and is owned by Nirmal Rampersad.
The car, the Sunday Express understands, is insured by Bankers Insurance for $350,000.
Contacted yesterday, Rampersad yesterday said there was "no truth to that rumour at all".
He said he was no stranger to luxury cars, having purchased his first Rolls Royce in 1983.
Ramlogan told the Sunday Express that he had never seen the vehicle nor was he friends with the owner.
"This is yet another example of malicious rumours that people spread to assassinate my character. I have never even dreamt of purchasing a Rolls Royce, far less owning one. I am personally not into vehicles that much," he responded.
Asked why that picture was posted on the phone linked to his office, he said that the phone was used by my his assistant, Varma Ramdhan, who had an interest in cars.
He said he acquired a Range Rover, which public officials can acquire VAT-free, as an investment.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar also acquired a Range Rover, PCW 1, last June.
"Upon assuming office, as with all public officers, I was entitled to a tax break which allows you to purchase vehicles at a discounted price as part of the package. I acquired that Range Rover as an investment which I can resell at the end of the relevant legal period," he said.
The AG said he has always taken a functional and utilitarian approach to vehicles and observed that his vehicle ownership history included a Datsun 120Y, a Nissan Sunny, a BMW sports edition, a Renault and a Suzuki SUV.
He also confirmed to the Sunday Express that his San Fernando home was undergoing some remodelling.
"I too have heard and been amused by the rumours about my home. I am not building a swimming pool because I have had one for the past ten years. I am not building a helipad because I have no intention of buying a helicopter. I am not building a garage for my fleet of vehicles because I only own two. And that land opposite my home was not purchased after I became AG, but I have had it for ten years now," he said.
He insisted that he had only acquired two properties since becoming AG—a $3 million luxury townhouse at La Rive in Maraval which he got two months after he was appointed to office in May 2010 and another at the Greens in Fairways, Maraval, three months later, in November 2010, priced at $1,750,000.
The properties were acquired through his investment company Celestial Investments Ltd.
Ramlogan and his wife Nalini are directors.
"The loan for which those properties were acquired was not beyond my means and they have been properly accounted for and declared to the Integrity Commission," he explained
Questioned on whether he had acquired a property at Sutton Street in San Fernando, Ramlogan said that rumour had also been making the rounds for some months.
He said that property and site was earmarked for the Ministry of the Attorney General's Office in San Fernando which the National Insurance and Property Development Company (Nipdec) had recently put out for tender.
He said he had been to the site on several occasions because it was the home of the old Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) building and "an evaluation was necessary as to its suitability and to determine whether the old building could have been converted and utilised or whether a new building was necessary for the ministry.
"The idea that I entered public office as a penniless man after 15 years in private practice with a proven track record would be amusing were it not for the malice which accompanied such rumours."
He added: "No lawyer can ever assume the Office of Attorney General if they don't have a solid financial foundation because the sacrifice is tremendous and the financial rewards are incomparable to earnings in a private practice."