Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 16th 2016 Contents A5
Saturday, April 16, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The State s case against six
police officers charged with the
murder of three civilians from
Moruga in July 2011 appears to be
in jeopardy as its main witness
has decided that she will no longer
testify because of what he says are
broken promises in the witness
Speaking on WPC Nicole
Clement's behalf at a press con-
ference at his Woodbrook office
yesterday evening, attorney Gerald
Ramdeen said his client took the
decision based on the failure of
National Security Minister Edmund
Dillon to respond within 48 hours
to a letter in which she raised con-
cerns over the security measures
implemented for her and her family
after she opted to testify against
her colleagues in exchange for
immunity in the case.
Ramdeen said: "The inaction on
the part of this government to this
most serious and troubling issue
clearly demonstrates this govern-
ment's lack of will to combat the
criminal element, the lack of fore-
sight to implement existing struc-
tures, the ignorance of the present
threat to our national security by
the criminal element and the gen-
eral breakdown of governance that
has plagued this country since the
September 7, 2016."
Ramdeen suggested that the
media's coverage of Clement's plight
would serve as a deterrent to poten-
tial witnesses to crimes who are
unsure whether they should provide
information to police.
"You need to have a robust justice
protection programme because the
types of crimes being committed
"Persons who want to come for-
ward to give evidence want to
ensure that they and their families
are protected at all cost.
"No cost is too high to pay to
protect these persons, because the
cost to our country if we fail to
address this problem now, is our
future, and the future of our chil-
dren and families.
"The cost is the breakdown of
law and order," Ramdeen added.
In addition to Clement, Ramdeen
also revealed at another client, who
is a witness to a murder in October
last year, also threatened to leave
police protective custody this week
due to lack humane conditions.
He said that the witness, a uni-
versity student, was initially being
kept in a safe house and was then
moved to a guest house in Port-
"On at least two occasions she
saw persons who came to use the
guest house she knew. Such were
the loose security arrangements for
this witness," Ramdeen said. He
also claimed that although the wit-
ness was a Muslim she was forced
to eat food that was not halal as
that was all provided by her police
Clement's main complaint high-
lighted in her letter sent to Dillion
on Monday, is that she was prom-
ised that she and her family would
relocated aboard under the pro-
gramme when she agreed to give
evidence against her former co-
workers in the case but instead was
placed under a make-shift arrange-
ment in which she and her daughter
are living in a "safe house" with
minimal police protection.
She says that since signing the
agreement in June 2012, she and
her daughter had been kept at three
different locations, including one
which did not have potable water.
She also has issues with the fact
that police officers were in charge
of her protection and feared the
possibility that her location may
be compromised under this
"This is her reward for coming
forward and being a State witness
in this most serious criminal pros-
ecution," Ramdeen said.
One-time United National Con-
gress official Ken Emrith whose
name has been mentioned in con-
nection with the leaked "Panama
Papers" scandal, was employed as
a marketing consultant at the
National Infrastructure Develop-
ment Company (Nidco), under the
People s Partnership administra-
tion, when Brazilian firm OAS
Construtora was hired by Nidco to
construct the Solomon Hochoy
Highway extension to Pt Fortin.
And payments by OAS Constru-
tora to a company linked to Emrith
also "seem" to have started when
Emrith was still employed at Nidco.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi
made those claims in a statement
to Parliament yesterday, concerning
Eleven million documents held
by the Panama-based law firm Mos-
sack Fonseca were passed to a Ger-
man newspaper and shared with
the International Consortium of
The documents allegedly tracked
offshore holdings of past and present
world leaders, sports, business,
entertainment and other personal-
ities across the world.
Al-Rawi said: "The identity of
the source is unknown but author-
ities across the world are being
spurred into action after the huge
leak of confidential documents
revealed how tax havens are used
to hide wealth...a number of inves-
tigations have been launched by
French, Austrian, Dutch and Aus-
tralian authorities among others.
The Prime Minister of Iceland has
Noting further revelations on
Emrith, Nidco and OAS which he
detailed yesterday, Al-Rawi added,
"The local issues arising from the
Panama Papers are receiving active
attention with particular focus on
enabling the efforts of requisite law-
ful investigative and prosecutorial
agencies in and outside of T&T."
Al-Rawi noted allegations which
described how Emrith "a former
low level party functionary of the
UNC used a Panamanian shell com-
pany to channel millions of US dol-
lars to offshore bank accounts
including a (US)$1m consultancy fee
from a convicted Brazilian money
launderer connected to Brazil's
Petrobras bribery scandal.
He said leaked files allegedly
tracked Emrith's business dealings
through a Panamian-registered shell
vehicle, Pendrey Associates Corpo-
ration, and his alleged "million dollar
connection to OAS."
OAS was in the running for the
Pt Fortin project since the past PNM
administration's tenure and officially
came on board to handle it under
the past PP government, in July 2011.
Al-Rawi said, "Ken Emrith was
a high-ranking candidate for the
UNC executive in their recently held
internal elections of 2015."
The reference was to Emrith's
contesting the post of international
relations officer on the slate of UNC
MP Roodal Moonilal's leadership bid
in UNC's December 2015 party poll.
Al-Rawi added, "Emrith was
employed at Nidco as a marketing
consultant from November 18, 2010
for 12 months at a monthly salary
of $35,000. He resigned from Nidco
on August 2, 2011."
"On March 4, 2011, the former
Government through Nidco awarded
a Design-Build contract to the
Brazilian firm Constutora OAS for
the lump sum of approximately
TT$5.2b or $1.6b more than the
The estimated cost to complete
the highway which is now estimated
to be 49 per cent complete is now
in excess of TT$8 billion."
The AG continued, "Investiga-
tions reveal that Emrith is listed as
director of Pembury Consultants
(T&T Ltd). This company was
employed by OAS as a consultant'
on Nidco's highway project for a
monthly payment of $44,800.
Payments to Pembury from OAS
seem to have started at a time when
Ken Emrith was still employed at
"From the findings at hand, OAS
paid Pembury at least $896,000 up
to May 2013. Subsequent payments
have not yet been traced."
Al-Rawi said Emrith is also a
director of Areyma General Con-
tractors Ltd and Duncan Transport
Ltd both of which Nidco gave con-
He said Areyma got a contract
in August 2013 to improve Hinkin
Road, Cunupia a drain and footpath,
for $1.6m and a drainage job in Cap
de Ville in September 2015 for $1.1m.
Duncan Transport also got a con-
struction contract at Rousillac for a
retaining wall job in July 2015 for
Calls to Emrith's cellphone didn't
go through. Nidco head Dr Carson
Charles said last night Emrith had
been a consultant doing marketing
for the water taxi and was with
Nidco from 2010 to 2011.
He said Emrith informed Nidco
he was going to take up a job with
OAS and he left Nidco.
"He would not have been allowed
to continue with Nidco if he was
with OAS since that would have
been a conflict of interest. I don't
know about the Pembury company,"
On the other two companies
(Areyman, Duncan Transport)
allegedly linked to Emrith, obtaining
Nidco contracts, Charles said he'd
heard of them, but added that many
companies tender for work and are
judged on who had the best price.
He said the issues which have
arisen have to be dealt with by
National Security Minister Edmund
Dillon says there is no move to get rid
of East Indians in the Strategic Serv-
ices Agency (SSA).
Dillon said that in an interview with
reporters during yesterday's House of
Representatives debate on a bill to give
the agency wider powers to garther
intelligence, not only on drug related
crimes but other serious crimes ---
including murder, manslaughter, shoot-
ing and wounding with intent, rape,
bigamy, abortion, acts of serious inde-
cency, kidnapping, blackmail, robbery,
assault with intent to rob, embezzle-
ment, larceny, offences involving motor
vehicles, forgery, treason, and firearms
The claim about East Indians being
targeted for removal in the SSA was
made after two high-ranking members
of the agency, were removed during a
restructuring of the organisation since
the new administration came into office.
The claims were made in lawsuits
filed by former employees, including
former director Bisnath Maharaj, seeking
compensation for their sacking on the
grounds that there were targets of polit-
ical victimisation and discrimination.
Questioned about the claim yesterday,
Dillon denied it, saying: "No , not at
all. That could never come from me.
I would never go with the idea of race
in dealing with any issues."
Dillon said he never used race to deal
with any issue in the past and will never
use it in the future.
He said he would not be able to com-
ment further on the matter as it was
being looked at by Attorney General
Faris Al-Rawi. Dillon said the SSA has
a director (retired Col George Robinson)
and was fully operational. ---Richard
Yesterday Opposition Leader
Kamla Persad-Bissessar sought
unsuccessfully to raise in Parlia-
ment debate on protection for state
witnesses as a matter of urgent
She told the Lower House
improving witness protection was
imperative for the national anti-
crime thrust and attention was also
necessary since the Government,
Police Commissioner and Director
of Public Prosecutions had not
moved to secure state witnesses.
Persad-Bissessar said 10 people
charged with murder stood to go
free if state witnesses were not pro-
She added the matter was of
public importance due to the
increase in murders and the decrease
in the detection rate.
House Speaker Brigid Annisette-
George said the matter didn't qualify
for debate under Standing Order 17,
where it was filed and suggested it
be refiled under Standing Order 16.
Broken promises in protection programme
No race in SSA
AG details Emrith's OAS, Nidco deals
Prime Minister Keith Rowley, right, and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi
during yesterday's sitting of Parliament. Inset: Ken Emrith.
PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
Motion struck down
Witness opts not to testify in Moruga case
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