Questions are being asked about how it took fewer than 24 hours for Local Government Minister Suruj Rambachan to get a response from Google International with regard to queries about his involvement in a series of alleged Section 34 e-mails, while it is taking the police close to two months to get any kind of response from Google.
Yesterday lead investigator into the emailgate scandal Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson said he had no answer to offer.
As the wait continues, the police probe into allegations involving Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Rambachan in an alleged conspiracy to commit illegal acts, seems to hang in the balance.
National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Gary Griffith is also under investigation in the same matter.
It is now over three months since Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley exposed a series of “e-mails” in the Parliament, which allegedly link the Cabinet ministers to wrongdoing.
Rowley produced the e-mails in Parliament during a no-confidence motion against Persad-Bissessar on May 20.
The e-mails allege efforts by Persad-Bissessar, Ramlogan and Rambachan to undermine the Judiciary, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and to cause harm to investigative journalist Denyse Renne.
Persad-Bissessar and her colleagues have denied any knowledge of the e-mails, but the Prime Minister instituted a police investigation into the matter.
Yesterday Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson could offer no reason as to why Rambachan was able to get a response from Google in less than a day, while the police have to wait so long.
“I can’t answer that question. I don’t know why Google has not responded. We have sent them reminders but we are still waiting,” he said.
Richardson said while he had heard about Rambachan’s response, he had not seen any such document.
Yesterday, Rambachan said he too was in no position to answer why the police were yet to get a response from Google.
For his part, he said, he had written Google on June 11, 2013 and by June 12, he was furnished with a response.
In his correspondence to Google, Rambachan identified himself as a Minister of Government in Trinidad and Tobago. He told Google, “A claim was made in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago that I was a conspirator to commit a crime. This was supported by an E Mail from email@example.com to me at e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
“My enquiry is whether any such e-mail was sent to me by email@example.com between September 1st and September 30th, 2012. Further whether firstname.lastname@example.org existed during this period.”
Rambachan told the Sunday Express yesterday, “They confirmed that no such IP address exists. I got that response within 24 hours.”
In its response from Internationalcivil@google.com headlined (7-6533000001084) fraudulent E Mails, June 12, obtained by the Sunday Express Google told Rambachan, that, “After a diligent search and reasonable inquiry, we have found no subscriber information or IP log information for any e-mail account by a user with the e-mail address email@example.com).”
Rambachan, agreed the response was a weight off his shoulder, but he said he never had any “doubt” about his own innocence.
Griffith said he was in a quandary as to why the police had not taken up his offer to write to Google giving the providers the greenlight to waive his rights to privacy and release the information to them.
“Google and Microsoft will never release information to them without the consent of those persons who are affected.
Up to now (the police) have not asked me to write to Google and Microsoft, even though I have offered to do so. If the police did not ask us do you think Google will waive our rights especially since there is no evidence of any criminal activity.
What police should have done months ago was ask us to give authorisation to google,” he said.
Griffith added that he “endorses” the offer made by the Prime Minister’s attorney Israel Khan and the position expressed by social activist group F’ixin T&T to have those facing allegations to write to Google asking for privacy rights to be waived.
Asked why the police had not taken up the offer, Richardson said Griffith should consult with the attorneys involved before talking.
Ask if this meant that the police did received the go ahead, Richardson said, “I don’t want to say anything more.”