BY Anika Gumbs
CCN Senior Multimedia
Dr Hafizool Ali Mohammed, one of the commissioners appointed to sit on the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 coup attempt, was arrested and charged with an offence of domestic violence last year.
While Mohammed has not responded to telephone calls or text messages from the Sunday Express seeking comment on the domestic violence matter, a police report obtained from the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia, USA, shows that he was arrested for the offence on May 28, 2013.
The court matter is ongoing.
The Sunday Express learned that the arrest took place some four days after the 15th session of the enquiry ended and Mohammed had returned to his #6230 Oakland Drive, Virginia home.
The police report stated that Mohammed was arrested at his residence for committing an offence of A&B (assault and battery) domestic violence.
The police report shows that Mohammed was among several people arrested during May 7 to June 6, 2013 by the Prince William County Police Department.
According to the police report, Mohammed, who is listed as a male, 60, was arrested at 6230 Oakland Drive, Woodbridge, Virginia.
When the Sunday Express contacted the Prince William County Police Department yesterday enquiring about the status of the matter, an officer on duty said that police departments have a mandatory arrest policy when police are called to a home for allegations of domestic violence.
The officer said the alleged victim in a domestic violence case does not have the power to drop the charges once sufficient evidence is found. Mohammed’s wife Rosemin offered “no comment” on the incident when the Sunday Express contacted her by telephone in the United States on Friday.
Following his arrest, the Sunday Express learned that Mohammed returned to Trinidad for the 16th session of the sitting that concluded on September 23, 2013.
Checks by the Sunday Express revealed that the address where the incident and arrest took place is the same residence Mohammed has listed on his curriculum vitae (CV).
Mohammed shot into the limelight in January 2013 after he admitted to obtaining his doctorate from the Atlantic International University (AIU).
Mohammed has a doctor of science degree (DSc) in international relations from the AIU - an institution described by various websites as a diploma mill.
The unaccredited degree sparked controversy in several quarters, with the Government asking Mohammed to step down from the Commission.
On January 29, 2013 attorney Jagdeo Singh-one of the attorneys on record for the commission —met with Mohammed at the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s, in an attempt to convince him to step aside.
However, Mohammed refused to budge.
Ramlogan: Hafizool was Dookeran’s pick
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has said commissioner Mohammed did not disclose the domestic violence incident and continued sitting on the commission.
Responding to a text message sent by the Sunday Express last Friday questioning whether Mohammed informed him, or any member of the Cabinet of the incident, Ramlogan said: “No. He was recommended and nominated to the Cabinet by then leader of the Congress of the People and Minister of Finance Winston Dookeran who vouched for him.”
However, while Dookeran was reported as confirming to submitting Mohammed’s name as a potential appointee to the commission, he pointed out that Ramlogan was responsible for the eventful selection of the commissioners.
Dookeran had also revealed that Mohammed had indicated his willingness to serve T&T via e-mail.
In 2009, Mohammed also sent his CV to former prime minister Patrick Manning. However, he was never considered for a job.
Asked whether as a sitting member of the commission Mohammed had a responsibility to inform the AG of his arrest given that the Commission of Enquiry falls under the purview of his office, Ramlogan via text message said: “Once the commission is appointed by the President, it is an independent body and the executive arm of the State has nothing to do with the commissioners. If a matter which affects a commissioner’s ability to continue sitting or functioning as a commissioner arises, he or she should report it to the chairman who can decide if it should be reported to His Excellency who may in turn advise the Prime Minister if he thinks fit.”
However, the commission’s chairman Sir David Simmons, yesterday told the Sunday Express in a telephone interview that he was unaware of the domestic violence matter.
“I do not know nothing about that madam,” he said.
Head of the T&T Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Rape Crisis Centre, Diana Mahabir-Wyatt also expressed surprise over the matter.
Asked if she was approached by relatives of the victim regarding the domestic violence incident, Mahabir-Wyatt, who is also a member of the commission, said: “I cannot recall. I am astounded. I have no other comment at this time.”
Several attempts by the Sunday Express to get a comment from Mohammed on the matter were unsuccessful as he did not return telephone calls.
Mohammed also did not respond to text messages that were sent to him on Thursday (3.25 p.m.), Friday (8.17 a.m.) and on Saturday (8.53 a.m.)
The following questions were sent to Mohammed via text message:
The Trinidad Express is seeking a response from you to the following questions.
(1) A police report from the Prince William County Police Department revealed that on 5/28/2013 you were arrested for domestic violence against your wife Rosemin Mohammed. Is this true or not?
(2) Were you charged for the offence?
(3) Did you disclose this matter to the Attorney General Anand Ramlogan or to Cabinet minister Winston Dookeran?