Attorney General Anand Ramlogan is denying talk-show host Ian Alleyne received the Range Rover file from his office.
Responding to questions raised by the Express yesterday, Ramlogan said:
“Please be advised that the officers of the Ministry of the Attorney General observe the strictest confidentiality with respect to all files and hence no one from this ministry passed any file to anyone that is not concerned with the official work and business of the ministry.”
Alleyne, the United National Congress (UNC) candidate for St Joseph in the November 4 by-election, has on several occasions brandished an original file belonging to the T&T Police Service (TTPS) on the UNC platform.
The file contains documentation pertaining to the investigation of deputy leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Anna Deonarine in the purchase of an allegedly stolen Range Rover.
During a meeting on Monday night, Alleyne told the crowd he had furnished Ramlogan with the file.
Ramlogan, while speaking at the meeting, also confirmed an “investigation done by our dear friend Ian Alleyne, we were given documents to support what he was saying”.
But former attorney general Bridget Annisette-George, when contacted by the Express yesterday, described the leaking of the file as frightening, and called on Ramlogan to launch an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Alleyne’s possession of the confidential file.
Sources say following a police investigation, the file was submitted to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
DPP Roger Gaspard, SC, upon reviewing it, cleared Deonarine of any criminal culpability. The file was returned to the police who had sought the advice of the Solicitor General’s department on what to do about the confiscated stolen Range Rover.
Sources say on September 4, the Solicitor General’s department forwarded the file to Ramlogan, with certain advice for him to sign off on. The file has not yet returned to the Solicitor General’s office from the Attorney General’s office.
On October 13, contents of the file appeared in two daily newspapers, while on October 14, Alleyne brandished the file, bearing the TTPS logo, on the UNC platform.
Concern has been expressed about how the file come into Alleyne’s possession.
“The fact that documents have reached the hands of members of the public must be something of great concern, and I cannot see how the Attorney General hasn’t launched an investigation into his department to see how the file of a citizen has reached the public domain in that kind of setting,” Annisette-George said.
“Any confidential information in the hands of anyone on any issue with respect to confidentiality should be respected, worse yet, when it comes to matters concerning attorneys,” the former attorney general said.
Adding that at no time should the Attorney General’s office be used to support any political campaign, the former attorney general said based on the information being disseminated in the media and the platform, she is of the opinion that any attorney general on a political platform “has to be sober-minded and guided by his over-riding duty to safeguard and protect citizens”.
Noting that the Attorney General, as described in the Constitution, wears two hats—being adviser to the Government and being the guardian of the people—Annisette-George said though the appointment is political, any officeholder has to understand “these hats are conflicting, and decisions have to be made based on the superior hat which is to safeguard and protect citizens”.
Pointing out Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said that in the past several attorneys general mounted platforms and spoke about investigations, Annisette-George said it is not an issue about campaigning, but “when you get there, what you do and say. You need to ensure you do not breach the duty of being the guardian of the public”.
She added what was even more troubling were the justifications being used “that it has been done before”. “If it has been done before, it should never be done again,” she said.
The leaking of the file has also some to the attention of Director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) Gillian Lucky.
Lucky was reported in an exclusive Express report as saying the PCA could not determine the origin of the information made public, but the PCA was duty-bound to step forward and say it appears the police were not responsible for leaking a confidential police file.
Following the disclosure, the TTPS also launched an investigation into the matter.
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said as the president of Crime Watch, Ian Alleyne has made a “significant contribution to the fight against crime utilising his various sources for gathering intelligence and vital information. He has partnered with senior police officers and ordinary members of the public to help solve crimes and must be commended for the personal risk he has taken in this dangerous venture”.
Ramlogan said “car theft is a serious crime and I am happy that he has managed to focus attention on a matter that is obviously of grave public interest. Rest assured that any and all relevant information obtained will be passed on to the relevant authorities so that this investigation can be re-opened”.
The Express yesterday forwarded six questions to Ramlogan.
Among the questions which remain unanswered were: will you launch an investigation into how Ian Alleyne came into possession of a police file? When was this file passed to you? Was the police file sent to you from the Solicitor General’s office? Where is the police file located now?