HAVING already filed a civil lawsuit against former UDeCOTT chairman John Calder Hart for $65 million, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has also taken action against three former executives of the special purpose company.
They are former chief operating officer Neelanda Rampaul, former vice-chairman Dr Krishna Bahadoorsingh and executive manager, Business and Financial Operations, Ricardo O'Brien.
Documents filed in the Registry of the Supreme Court in Port of Spain on Wednesday by attorneys Christlyn Moore (now Justice Minister), Gerald Ramdeen, Lesley Lucky Samaroo and Kerri Ann Oliverie reveal that the original claim against Hart was amended to include Rampaul, Bahadoorsingh and O'Brien.
The original lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of UDeCOTT on May 1 in relation to the still incomplete Brian Lara Cricket Academy (BLCA) at Tarouba, accuses Hart of breaching his duty to exercise skill, care and diligence in the management of the affairs of UDeCOTT. It is alleged that Hart failed to ensure the renewal of advance payment bonds or, alternatively, recovery of $65,680,978.88 representing the balance of the advance payments made to contractor Hafeez Karamath Ltd by UDeCOTT.
UDeCOTT intends to lead evidence that Hart and Bahadoorsingh, at board meetings held between March 17, 2006 and September 29, 2006, resolved to award a contract to Karamath Ltd for construction work on the BLCA when they knew and/or ought to have known that due to Karamath Ltd's lack of management expertise and financial viability, there was a high risk of the company being unable to complete construction on time or at all.
The contract is dated December 12, 2006. Hart and Bahadoorsingh are also being accused of failing to terminate the contract following clear warnings and advice that Karamath Ltd could and would not complete the construction of the BLCA construction packages two, three and five to eight. O'Brien and Rampaul are being accused of recommending to UDeCOTT's Board that Karamath Ltd be awarded the contract.
According to UDeCOTT, Rampaul breached her duty to exercise skill, care and diligence by failing to, among other things, recommend in or about July, 2008, to Hart and/or the board of UDeCOTT, that the contract be terminated. She is also accused of failing to refuse to make, and/or recommend to Hart and/or the board that, further payments to Karamath on or after July 2008 be stopped.
On September 20 Hart was ordered by Port of Spain High Court Judge Justice Andre Des Vignes to pay $16,800 in legal fees to UDeCOTT after he failed to file a defence to the lawsuit by July 18 as stipulated by Des Vignes.
Hart's attorneys sought an extension of time but their application was refused. Hart's attorneys submitted that he was not in receipt of all the relevant documents relating to the BLCA project. Des Vignes said no good reason was advanced to explain why Hart did not comply with the court's timeline.
The judge said even if Hart needed to acquire documents which would assist him, and the documents were acquired after he filed his defence, he would have been allowed to amend his defence.
Hart was not present when the matter was called. His attorneys Dr Lloyd Barnett QC, Keith Scotland and Stuart Young, instructed by Annabelle Boynes-Sooklal, explained that Hart was no longer living in Trinidad and Tobago.
Des Vignes said Hart would be required to attend the case management conferences.
The matter is expected to come up for hearing again on December 3.