The Central Bank was granted an injunction against the Newsday newspaper on Friday night to prevent the publication of a story.
The ex parte (without the other party) injunction was granted by Justice Robin Mohammed at the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, at about 10.30 p.m. on Friday and served on the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Jones P Madeira at about midnight.
Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran and Michelle Majid were the claimants of the application while Madeira, the Daily News Limited and journalist Nalinee Seelal were the defendants.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Central Bank said the newspaper “was attempting to report on the unauthorised access in May 2014 by unknown person(s) who used the Bank’s information technology systems to disseminate an unarguably false, malicious and defamatory communication relating to Bank employees. When the unauthorised access occurred, the Bank’s Chief of Security immediately referred the matter to the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.”
Yesterday, Newsday reported that Rambarran was seeking to block the newspaper from publishing a story on the contents of an e-mail which was circulated in the bank.
Rambarran had forwarded the e-mail to the police for investigation. Seelal, who was investigating the contents of the e-mail, contacted Rambarran for comment but he declined because he said it was a police matter.
Attorney Kerwyn Garcia, on behalf of Rambarran, sent a letter to Newsday requesting it to “refrain from publishing any report related to the e-mail or its contents or to the fact of and/or contents of this letter” and if it did not, the Central Bank would seek an injunction.
The Central Bank’s claim for an injunction was supported by an affidavit from attorney Elena Araujo.
Araujo’s affidavit noted that the allegations contained in the e-mail are “unarguably defamatory”.
“Moreover, if the matter is in fact the subject of an ongoing police investigation, the publication of these matters by the press may have the effect of undermining and/or prejudicing the investigation,” Araujo stated.
The Central Bank said “it sought the Court’s intervention on publication of this sensitive matter which could potentially undermine national confidence in the integrity of the Bank’s information security systems” and the ”injunction was also necessary to prevent the media house from further disseminating defamatory libel and possibly prejudicing the ongoing investigation by the authorities.”
“The Central Bank views the unauthorised access of its information technology systems as an isolated one and assures all stakeholders its information security framework is strong and conforms to internationally-accepted best practice and standards,” the statement said.
The Bank said its actions “in this matter demonstrate the Bank’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of its information security assets and protecting the dignity and privacy of its employees.”
Justice Mohammed ordered that Newsday be restrained from “printing or publishing or causing to be printed or published any article or headline or by-line or story the subject of or relating to the matters stated in the documents attached to and/or contained in an e-mail dated and/or sent on May 21, 2014 internally within the Central Bank.”
The next hearing is on August 21.