The Integrity Commission (IC) has written to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, urging her to waive her rights to privacy by allowing Google Inc to tell all as it relates to her e-mails of September 2012.
The commission’s request is contained in a letter to Persad-Bissessar dated September 19, 2013, headlined “Investigation into the alleged e-mail affair”, in which it called on her to write to Internet service provider Google Inc, “authorising them to release” to the commission “a true copy of all communication to and from the account email@example.com for the month of September 2012”.
The commission has also asked the Prime Minister to provide it (the commission) with a copy of this “letter of authorisation” and said it anticipated an early response in the matter.
Persad-Bissessar’s e-mail address was implicated, along with the addresses of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Works and Infrastructure Minister Surujattan Rambachan, in being used to convey messages to each other during the height of the Section 34 debate in September last year.
The contents of the e-mail are being linked to a criminal conspiracy against the judiciary, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the media and the Office of the Opposition Leader.
The charge was made by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in Parliament on May 20 this year, triggering a police investigation headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson and later by the Integrity Commission.
Prior to bringing the controversial issue to Parliament, Rowley had six months earlier sent it to then president of the country Prof George Maxwell Richards.
In its letter to the Prime Minister, signed by registrar Martin Farrell, the commission explained that at the “core of this investigation is information allegedly transmitted via a number of electronic mail accounts”, one of which is firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A thorough investigation of this matter will necessitate access to information stored in this account”, the commission told the prime minister, adding, “one of the ways by which this information may be obtained is if the account holder (in this case yourself) agrees to and requests the e-mail provider to release the required information”.
It is in these circumstances, the commission advised it was requesting that Persad-Bissessar writes Google, authorising them to release the information.
Attorney Israel Khan SC is representing Persad-Bissessar in the matter while Pamela Elder SC is representing the interests of both Ramlogan and Rambachan. Former national security adviser, now Minister of National Security, Gary Griffith was also implicated in the e-mails but he has since handed over his devices to the police to be checked.
The attorneys are expected to meet later next week to discuss a response to the Integrity Commission. The Express was advised however they are expected to adopt the same position with the commission as they have with the police probe.
In the past, the attorneys had written to DCP Richardson, indicating their willingness to write to the Internet providers, authorising Microsoft, the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) and Google to release information for the period under query.
The Express was reliably informed the attorneys for the three under probe will only permit information to be released for the September 1 to September 30, 2012, period because it is felt information gleaned for any other period would be inimical to the country’s national security.
The Integrity Commission’s investigation is not without controversy since chairman Ken Gordon has been forced to recuse himself from the probe, following strong protest by the Government in July.
The Prime Minister was among those who demanded his resignation from the commission after he had a meeting with Rowley at his (Gordon’s) Glencoe home, a few days prior to his disclosure in Parliament in May.