Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said yesterday it was "curious" that while attorneys Reginald Armour SC , Elena Araujo and Ian Benjamin disputed the figures he gave for what they received in legal fees from the Central Bank, they did not disclose how much was in fact paid to them.
Ramlogan was asked to respond to the replies given by the three attorneys which were read by the Clerk of the Senate, with a view to correcting the Hansard record. Ramlogan said if there was any dispute over the figures, one would have expected the affected parties to disclose how much they received. "There are public funds and the figures quoted were provided by the Central Bank via the Ministry of Finance," he said.
The Attorney General said the Government favoured full and frank disclosure and if there was any query, he was certain that these attorneys could provide the figures and clear the air.
"I have great respect for my colleagues and I fully appreciate that they may have grown accustomed to the PNM policy of silence with respect to the disclosure of legal fees," he said. He recalled that a previous PNM attorney general had bluntly refused to answer questions on legal fees.
"This Government takes a different view. And any attorney who wants to work for this Government, must be prepared to have their fees disclosed as I have done repeated in response to questions from the Opposition," he said. He added that this administration had hired attorneys in high-profile cases in which the public had an interest and this included the Central Bank, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the CLICO/HCU Commission of Enquiry. —Ria Taitt