Attorney Jagdeo Singh’s opinion was used by the Transport Ministry and state enterprises under the Food Production Ministry even after former Transport Minister Devant Maharaj was assigned his current portfolio.
However, the Ministry of Transport and the state enterprises that sought his opinion on legal matters, including Caribbean Airlines (CAL), the Airports Authority (AATT), the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), stopped seeking advice from Singh after Maharaj was moved.
For his opinions, Sunday Express checks indicated that Singh had earned close to $4 million from the state enterprises under the Ministry of Transport from 2011 to 2013, exclusive of his invoices to the ministry itself for $1.82 million.
All invoiced sums were Value Added Tax (VAT) exclusive as Singh only registered for VAT in 2012.
Under Maharaj’s ministry, Singh’s legal advice was sought for the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Company Ltd (Namdevco).
The Sunday Express obtained two invoices, which were submitted to Namdevco’s corporate secretary Shivan Seunarine on July 31 this year for advice on the validity of four consultancy contracts issued and the suspension of chief executive Krishna Ramrattan.
For advice on the validity of the four consultancy contracts, Singh invoiced $201,250 for receiving and perusing instructions, considering the statutory remit of Namdevco, consideration of the Act, perusal of the tender documents, perusal of all correspondence, researching the law, preparation of opinion and telephone conferences and taking instructions.
For the suspension of Krishna Ramrattan, Singh invoiced $86,250 for taking and perusing instructions, giving general advice, liaising with the chairman and general care and conduct.
But unlike the invoices which had previously been submitted for payment through the Ministry of Transport – which was tabulated by an hourly rate of $2,500 for a certain number of hours – it was headed with a VAT registration number and Singh invoiced a VAT-inclusive sum.
Last week, the Sunday Express exclusively reported on payments totalling $1.82 million for advice given by Singh and billed for in May 2012 without VAT provisions.
Together with the fresh invoices provided to the Sunday Express the cumulative amount billed to agencies falling under Maharaj in two different ministries in just over two years is approximately six million dollars.
Singh, the lawyer on record for the wife of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and who represented the State on behalf of the Ministry of Finance at the CLICO Commission of Enquiry as well as at the Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 attempted coup, billed only for opinions and no actual court work.
Contacted by the Sunday Express to comment on the new invoices, Singh told the Sunday Express that he had already said all he had to in the matter already.
For his part, Maharaj has challenged why the Sunday Express did not look at the relationship between a former Government minister and another attorney.