Leader of Government Business and Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said he was looking on with interest on how matters related to prison litigation and the role of the Ministry of the Attorney General were unfolding.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has asked Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and a team which include, acting Solicitor General Carol Hernandez; Commissioner of Prisons Conrad Barrow; Inspector of Prisons Daniel Khan; Minister of Justice Emmanuel George and Chief State Solicitor Christophe Grant to address concerns raised by the Prisons Officers Association (POA) on prison litigation.
The concerns were first raised by former solicitor general Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell, SC in a letter to Persad-Bissessar on August 30, 2013. Donaldson-Honeywell bypassed line Minister AG Ramlogan and wrote to Persad-Bissessar suggesting that a three-pronged investigation by the Inspector of Prisons, the Law Association and the Police Service be undertaken to determine whether attorneys involved in prison litigation are engaged in an “unethical business venture” which “may amount inter alia to breaches of professional ethics by the attorneys involved and may have the effect of perverting the course of justice in litigation against the State.
She was also concerned “whether there has been over the period from mid-2010 a conflict of interest in certain key office holders increasingly taking action to support the said unethical business for direct and/or indirect financial gain.
Moonilal yesterday said: “I am following it of course. But given the sensitive nature of the issue and the fact that it is the subject of an investigation, I prefer not to comment at all at this time on the issue or any element of the issue.”
Questioned on whether he felt the AG should step aside from investigating his own Ministry, Moonilal declined comment.
Asked whether he was concerned about the fallout it would have on the Government and the United National Congress (UNC), he said: “At this stage, I am concerned that the process takes place so I will not want to comment on it.”
AG Ramlogan was yesterday asked by the Sunday Express to answer several questions on how he would proceed with the investigation given that the POA has refused to meet with him to discuss their concerns.
However, he said he was at a family function and could not comment at that time.
The POA yesterday maintained their call for an independent investigation.