Monday, February 19, 2018

Rowley writes PSC on Gibbs' handling of FIFA matter

THE Police Service Commission (PSC) has received a letter from Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, raising concerns about Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs's handling of the investigation into the FIFA bribery scandal involving Works and Infrastructure Minister Jack Warner.

PSC chairman Prof Ramesh Deosaran made the statement to members of the media following a round-table discussion yesterday at the Flamingo Room of the Hilton Trinidad, St Ann's.

On Tuesday, Rowley delivered a letter, requesting the PSC "obtain a full and comprehensive report on the response of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service to the FIFA bribery allegations" as it relates to persons in Trinidad and Tobago.

The PSC will consider Rowley's request at its next meeting, Deosaran said.

"I cannot comment on anything further than that. After the next meeting, maybe something may or may not be said, but you would understand that myself as chairman cannot say something until the commission deliberates on an important matter like that," Deosaran said.

In June, Rowley wrote Gibbs, questioning a possible breach of the foreign exchange and other laws of this country by Warner, then a FIFA vice-president, in the wake of the allegations involving then FIFA presidential candidate Mohammed bin Hammam.

Gibbs promised Rowley an investigation into the matter.

However, Rowley has accused Gibbs of "pandering to the political directorate" and sitting on his hands in the investigation.

In a telephone with the Express on Monday, Rowley said, "He (Gibbs) sat on his hands. And he is doing that not because he doesn't know how to proceed with police investigations, but because he is pandering to the political directorate and he is sending the signal that certain persons are too big for the police to interfere with them."

Rowley said while Gibbs failed to pursue the matter, FIFA has proceeded with an investigation, collected "incriminating evidence", and suspended people.

In his letter to the PSC, Rowley stated: "It is common knowledge that some of the persons involved in the allegations are high-ranking public officials inside and outside of Trinidad and Tobago.

"It is the view of many persons in the public domain within Trinidad and Tobago that the Commissioner of Police has failed to act because of the person/s involved. To the extent that this view prevails in Trinidad and Tobago, the Police Service Commission has a duty to intervene so as to ensure that the necessary action takes place to prevent this belief from justifiably taking root."

He added: "I must draw to your attention that since this scandal broke in May 2011, investigations by other parties have resulted in incriminating reports becoming available to other sovereign bodies, and sanctions have been taken against parties deemed to be guilty of wrongdoing.

"It is against this background that the reaction of Trinidad and Tobago Police Service should be viewed as a dereliction of duty guided by political manipulation, a wholly intolerable situation for the people of Trinidad and Tobago."