AG’s $3m townhouse
Two months after he became Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, Anand Ramlogan secured a luxury townhouse at La Rive in Maraval.
It was priced at $3 million.
A mere three months later, in November 2010, he secured another at the Greens in Fairways, Maraval.
That one was priced at $1,750,000.
The properties were acquired through his investment company Celestial Investments Ltd in which Ramlogan and his wife Nalini are directors.
The company was set up on May 14, 2003 with the registered address of No 3 Harris Street, San Fernando.
However, the registered company does not show up in a search at the Companies Registry at the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
Instead, the company is registered as Celectial Investments Ltd on the ministry’s search engine.
It was served a notice by the Registrar General on February 11, 2011 for its failure to file annual returns with the Registrar of Companies.
The notice indicated that a penalty of $100 a month would be applied on the company and every director and officer who failed to deliver or file with the Registrar.
Notice was also given that in addition to the monetary penalties imposed, the company could have been struck off the Registrar of Companies for continued contravention of Section 194 (1) of the Act.
Yesterday, the Attorney General defended his purchase of the properties through his private company while serving as a Minister of Government.
With regard to the La Rive townhouse, he explained that he had paid some 90 per cent of the cost prior to his appointment in a “pay as you build concept”.
Asked by the Sunday Express about the source of the funds, Ramlogan argued that he was a successful attorney before he was catapulted into the AG’s chair.
He said he still had judgments in reserve pending before the Privy Council.
He explained he continued to receive outstanding legal fees from these matters.
“I am not unique in this regard. I have done work for which I am being paid,” he told the Sunday Express by phone.
He said when he was awarded cheques from the State he would staple a copy in his declaration forms. When asked about the scope of his investment company, he explained it was set up to conduct investments in his private capacity.
Asked why he chose to purchase the property through an investment company and not in his own name, Ramlogan responded: “The investment company is mine. There’s no big reason really.”
Pressed further on why the company was not in a blind trust, he said there were terms and conditions to the trust and he had nothing to hide.
“It never crossed my mind,” he said.
Former head of the public service Reginald Dumas said yesterday public figures securing their assets in a blind trust was prescribed in the code but it was not a law.
“The implication arises that he will continue to run it. From an ethical point of view, it is no different from Health Minister Fuad Khan’s choice between his Ministerial appointment or his private practice,” Dumas said yesterday during a brief telephone interview.
However, he observed, “If having been a minister, you are being paid for work done before, I can’t see anything wrong with that.”