Businessman and broadcaster Inshan Ishmael has confirmed he is the man who taped and released Government Minister Gerald Hadeed making damning comments about United National Congress (UNC) officials.
At the time the recording was made, Hadeed was chairman of the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT).
Numerous efforts by the Sunday Express to reach Hadeed for comment have been unsuccessful.
Repeated calls to his cellphone and office since last Monday were not returned.
Efforts were also made to contact fired minister Chandresh Sharma whose name was also called by Hadeed in the recording, but there was no response. The Sunday Express was told that Sharma is currently attending a parliamentary conference in Canada.
The Sunday Express also tried contacting High Commissioner to Canada Phillip Buxo and Ambassador to Washington, DC Dr Neil Parsan but was unsuccessful. Several messages left were not returned.
The recording, which is five minutes and 21 seconds long, has gone viral and addresses concerns over a Government minister allegedly attempting to interfere with the tendering process at the AATT in a bid to satisfy his friends by awarding them contracts.
The recording focuses mainly on claims of Government not attempting to address corruption.
“They don’t want nobody who will stand up against corruption. They don’t want that. They want corruption, they want people who will do their (expletive) bidding....,” Hadeed says in the tape in which he also criticises the inability of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to extricate herself from “ah setta rats she have around her”.
It also makes reference to the Canadian firm SNC Lavalin.
SNC Lavalin had secured a $1 billion contract for the Penal Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre. However, after concerns were raised by the Opposition over the company being implicated in bid-rigging and corruption, the government scrapped the contract.
Speaking with the Sunday Express yesterday afternoon, Ishmael, owner of the Islamic Broadcasting Network (IBN) said he and Hadeed were having a telephone conversation which Ishmael recorded. This conversation took place a little over a year ago.
Checks by the Sunday Express revealed around that time Hadeed was chairman of the AATT having been appointed in 2012. He subsequently demitted the position citing medical reasons.
In September 2013, Hadeed was appointed Communications Minister and earlier this year was appointed Tourism Minister.
Asked why he recorded the conversation, Ishmael said: “Due to the nature of my job. What I do.. 99.9 per cent of my conversations are recorded. When you are in the business of media, you get threats almost on a daily basis from contractors and their minions, so all conversations are recorded,” he said.
The Sunday Express asked if Hadeed was aware he was being taped.
“Anybody who calls my phone, the fact is even if they are not aware...if you look at the wire tapping law, if someone external plays the recording, you have a problem. If it’s someone involved in the conversation, then there’s no problem,” he said.
Following the release of the recording, Ishmael said he has not contacted Hadeed or vice versa.
“I have no reason now to contact Mr Hadeed,” he said.
Ishmael said after the conversation in which Hadeed claimed the Government is corrupt, he was shocked when Hadeed was announced as a minister in the re-shuffled Cabinet.
“I was shocked, I nearly collapsed,” he said.
Last month, a video recording was aired exclusively on TV6 showing a man who looks like a Government Minister seemingly involved in an illicit activity in a hotel room in the company of several women.
Sport Minister Anil Roberts is yet to confirm or deny it is him the video features.
His failure to respond to questions posed to him by the Congress of the People (COP) has led to his being suspended from the party.
Ishmael claimed the recording done with Hadeed is not the only one in his possession.
“There are others involving ministers and these ministers are aware of them.
“Some of the recordings will shock this country,” he said.
Claiming that various contractors have been complaining about “giving kickbacks to ministers when they get contracts”, Ishmael said he has e-mailed the recordings to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar which implicate some of her ministers involved in domestic abuse, collection of bribes and other illegal acts, but to date nothing has been done.
“Board members are meeting and agreeing not to give Muslims contracts, the recordings were sent to the Prime Minister of T&T and she did nothing,” he said.
Kurt Ajodha named
Former deputy manager of the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT) Kurt Adjodha says allegations of wrongdoing made against him are not true.
Ajodha was named by Hadeed in the recording as being close friends with Chandresh Sharma and using his position on the AATT board to grant concessions.
“He partner Ajodha was ah (expletive removed) fraud. That’s he real (expletive removed) bosom partner, he giving him work all over the place, to do this and to do that. And Ajodha use to....he was the chairman of the Tenders Committee and trying to do all the (expletive) nasty work,” Hadeed says in the recording.
Ajodha told the Sunday Express by phone on Friday: “First of all I am unaware of any clip. Secondly any allegations made with fraud are false.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, you can acquire information from the AATT in writing and everything is there including board minutes or any decisions made and one can see I acted within the legislation and the law.”
Ajodha said all claims made in the recording against him are “absolutely false”.
“I can’t do that. I can’t act alone. As I said those are absolutely false statements, I haven’t heard the tape to that extent, I only heard something that they had on a next clip.
“This is the first I’m hearing my name being called.
I can stand up in a court of law and defend myself,” he said.
Asked by the Sunday Express about his relationship with Hadeed during their tenure at the AATT, Ajodha said: “He was the chairman and I was the deputy, we had a working relationship.”
Ajodha in June last year submitted his resignation following a disclosure by Diego Martin North/East MP Colm Imbert during debate in Parliament that his academic qualifications were incorrect.
Imbert had disclosed that Ajodha did not possess the qualifications stated on his CV.
Asked by the Sunday Express to comment about his lack of qualifications at the time, Ajodha said: “At this point in time, I don’t want to comment on anything with regards to the Airports Authority.
“I’m no longer there anymore and the media has taken their toll in the direction in which they took the matter and I really don’t want to have anything to do with the AA or statements being made against me.
“I opted for the right to resign and I did resign,” he said.
Transcript of the recording
Ishmael: But what happen is that.. boy, Gerry I don’t know what taking place you know boy.
Hadeed: It is unfortunate that umm.. .Jack is correct eh boy. Is a few people holding the woman to ransom. The woman is not a bad woman eh, but she not listening boy... unfortunately.. u know.. Chandresh and dem fellas all ah dem holding she under a (explicit) gun..yuh know.
Ishmael: Yeah but what happen is dat, ah man had meet me d other day when I was flying out, he tell me, he say: “ boy dey fire yuh partner from Airports Authority”, ah say who is dat? they say: “ Gerry boy”, ah say what? Nah they wouldn’t fire Gerry, ah say Gerry is a no nonsense man, Gerry just like me.
Hadeed: Well dey ain’t fire me. I and d minister get away over awards of contract. He want me to give sole select contracts to friends and I tell him I ain’t doing dat and I write him and I tell him, if you want dat, put it in (expletive) writing to me and that’s the end of that. I never get anything in writing from he . So I kinda I fell off my bicycle and I ain’t gone back there, but I and he always having arguments over s’#t. He want to micro manage every (expletive) thing. Like you can’t hire people unless he know who you hiring. You can’t do nothing unless he know what going on and as I told him, I said the ministry should (inaudible) and leave the board to run the operations yuh know. But, he want to run the operations, so I don’t go back there ..I kinda abandon the (expletive) post yuh know.
Ishmael: No, well that’s unfair boy that.. Gerry you’re an astute businessman, but not only that..
Hadeed: I was making a big difference the workers like meh..they were producing everything was going good eh yuh know ..but unfortunately umm..
Ishmael: That’s Chandresh
Hadeed: Yeah...well I leave it for he too..
Ishmael: But is not only he alone Gerry.. is toute bagai...is every man jack boy
Hadeed: Well they must be figure that they will lose the next election already and they just (expletive) grabbing everything to come in sight and just a few people getting everything...so.
Ishmael: But this is it, but this is it.. Gerry you know what we fight for boy, Chubby and all ah we..you know what we fight for, but your partner is a real disappointment too boy.. Anil boy ..oh gward..
Hadeed: Everybody boy ,everybody kinda you know.. I ain’t know nah boy and to tell you the truth..you know... I call Jack this morning and I tell Jack, boy have faith, have faith, yuh know, have faith don’t give up..yeah..to tell you the truth.. I believe if he wins the election it will have the hope she will listen and she will abandon them rats she have around her. Is ah setta (expletive) rats.
Ishmael: Yeah but Gerry lemme tell you something, she is a big woman, she is the Prime Minister, and I consider that you have a cabal around you making decisions. Hear what happening, if you ain’t have your own head you can’t be the flicking Prime Minister.
Hadeed: You know...is a few fellas that (expletive) up this whole thing...look this s!*t with S and C Lavelin
Ishmael: Yeah the Canadian company.
Hadeed: Basically what it is, the fella up in Canada Buxo..ah Chandresh nephew, ah the next one from either Miami or New York whatever he name is umm. what the boy name is...umm... Parsan.
Ishmael: Nah I aint know he name
Hadeed: Yeah he is an ambassador too eh
Ishmael: Yeah ok you talking about... Umm
Hadeed: Neil Pasrsan..
Ishmael: Neil Parsan ...yeah
Hadeed: Neil Parsan is Chandresh nephew...so all ah dem...three of them mix up in this whole calalloo...you understand...the man behind this whole (expletive) thing really is Chandresh too.. Chandresh behind all ah that s*!t yuh know
Ishmael: So you and Chandresh allyuh done..(Laughing)
Hadeed: Yeah man (expletive) away with he man , (expletive) away with he..Actually he calling meeting today..he calling on the board today. He partner Ajodha was ah (expletive) fraud. That’s he real (expletive) bosom partner he giving him work all over the place, to do this and do that. And Ajodha used too..he was the Chairman of the Tenders Committee and trying to do all the (expletive) nasty work..but ( expletive) away with that man.
You can’t be decent in this (expletive) government and wanting to do the right thing.
The last two governments collapse over corruption in the airport...the PNM and the UNC and this (expletive) one will be the same thing. They allow the corruption to continue in the airport. It will (expletive) bring them down.
Hadeed: It will bring them down. They don’t want nobody who will stand up against corruption...yuh follow.
Ishmael: No no no I..
Hadeed: They don’t want that, they want corruption, they want people who will do their (expletive) bidding, to do the corruption and I not in that s*?t.. I’m not in that s!*? I’m not in it.
Ishmael: Wayy boy.