ATTORNEY Om Lalla, the Independent Liberal Party’s (ILP) candidate for the St Joseph by-election, believes that criminal charges of misbehaviour in public office can be brought against whoever is giving his competitor Ian Alleyne the authority to award State contracts.
Alleyne is the United National Congress’ (UNC) candidate for the St Joseph by-election.
Alleyne has presented himself as a performer and has started doing work in the constituency in the build-up to next week Monday’s election.
Lalla said this is setting a bad precedent.
“He is not in government office, he does not have the access or the legal authority to award contracts or be in charge of awarding contracts and that is something that might have to be investigated,” Lalla said yesterday.
He made the statements during a walkabout along Quarry Drive, Champs Fleurs, yesterday.
“Not only is it improper to want to award contracts on the eve of an election but for somebody who is a candidate, who has no attachment to the government officially to be claiming that he is performing, hiring people, delivering contracts that in itself may amount to misbehaviour in public office for the persons who are giving him the authority to say that,” Lalla said.
“That may warrant a criminal investigation by the Commissioner of Police so they have to be very careful, while he (Ian) may be enthusiastic he is treading a very, very dangerous course that is going to change governance in this country because if it is you can bring private citizens in who have no legal authority to award contracts and fix drains and award food cards. It is literally usurping the function of all public officials and that is probably after this election going to warrant a serious criminal investigation into those who have given him the authority to masquerade in this way,” he said.
Lalla said this will be a “serious stain” against the government”
“It creates a serious stain on the government that they are giving people without authority to enter into the public treasury and to interfere with the governance of this country. The government of this country is not in the back pocket of any individual,” Lalla said.
“And the fact that you may be the government of Trinidad and Tobago and you may be elected does not give you the authority to break the rules of tender process and the law as a whole and we are seeing that being done in a very bold and brazen way and there are going to be repercussions after this election,” he said.
“Politics is one thing; the right to solicit votes is one thing; but governance and having no legal authority to do that is a completely different thing. It raises very serious legal and criminal issues,” Lalla said.