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Udecott case against Hart hits snag
Hunt for key files
The Urban Development
Corporation of T&T s (Udecott)
inability to locate documents
critical to its multi-million dol-
lar lawsuit against its former
executive chairman Calder Hart
and three of its former execu-
tives, may potentially weaken
its chances of successfully
proving its alleged negligence
in the management of a con-
The issue arose when the
claim seeking to recover almost
$65 million for its alleged breach
of fiduciary duties in relation to
the still incomplete Brian Lara
Cricket Academy (BLCA), came
up for hearing before Justice
Andre des Vignes in the Port-
of-Spain High Court yesterday.
Attorneys representing Ude-
cott, Hart and the former exec-
utives --- former chief operating
officer Neelanda Rampaul, for-
mer vice-chairman Dr Krishna
Bahadoorsingh and executive
manager, Business and Financial
Operations, Ricardo O Brien ---
were initially scheduled to come
together at yesterday s hearing
to decide on a trial date for the
But when the matter was
called, attorneys for the former
executives indicated their coun-
terparts representing Udecott
had failed to comply with dead-
lines for disclosing key evidence
in the claim, set by Des Vignes
and the Appeal Court during
previous hearings in December
and earlier this year.
The attorneys indicated that
without the documents, includ-
ing a special report into the
operations of Udecott in man-
aging the projects, it would be
difficult for them to plan their
"I can t prepare a case in a
vacuum," Bahadoorsingh s attor-
ney Colin Kangaloo said.
Despite Des Vignes s sugges-
tion that they proceed with their
submissions in preparation for
the pending trial while awaiting
the results of Udecott s ongoing
search for the documents, the
attorneys held firm to their posi-
tion that they could not continue
until the issue was dealt with.
In the lawsuit, Udecott alleges
that the executives breached
their duty to exercise skill, care
and diligence in the manage-
ment of the BLCA project.
Since it was filed in May 2012,
the lawsuit has been hit with
several delays, caused by two
ammendments to the initial
claim, as well as several proce-
dural applications for both par-
Conceived in 1999, the sta-
dium, part of the Tarouba Sport-
ing Complex, was expected to
be completed in time to host
matches for the 2007 ICC
Cricket World Cup at the cost
of $500 million.
A combination of multiple
delays, cost overruns and
increases in the price of building
materials led the final cost of
the project skyrocketing to
almost twice its original esti-
The money Udecott is seeking
to recover, $65,680,978.88, rep-
resents the balance of the
advance payments made to con-
tractor Hafeez Karamath Ltd for
In response, Udecott s lawyer
Lesley Ann Lucky-Samaroo
indicated she and her team had
already done extensive searches
of their client s records and were
only able to disclose the docu-
ments they were able to locate.
She also denied her client s
inability to find the documents
was a deliberate ploy in the case.
Des Vignes did not seem to
be satisfied with their efforts.
"We accept your best inten-
tions but they have not searched
everywhere. Therefore, there are
still a few places that can be
searched," he said.
During a hearing of the case
in December last year, Des
Vignes gave Udecott instructions
on what documents should be
disclosed and a timeline for
doing so, while warning that
sanctions would be applied for
non-compliance with his order.
After lengthy discussions on
the issue yesterday, the execu-
tives attorneys agreed to file
submissions on the possible legal
sanctions for Udecott, which
they initially said may include
striking out segments of the cor-
poration s case where the miss-
ing documents were referenced.
At the end of the hearing, the
attorneys for the executives
asked if their clients needed to
be present at the next hearing
of the case - a requirement
under the Civil Proceedings
Rules 1998 -, which Des Vignes
chose to dispense with when
attorneys agreed that the clients
presence was not necessary until
the trial began.
Lucky-Samaroo chose not
oppose the application for the
waiver. The case will be next
heard on September 17.
The country s murder toll is now 132 after
three men were shot dead between Tuesday
night and yesterday.
The victims were identified as Nkosi Harricha-
ran and Julio Cumberbatch, both 24, and David
In the first incident around 6.15 pm on Tuesday,
police said Harricharan was walking along Hubert
Street, Belmont, when he was shot in the head
by a gunman. Harricharan lived at Gonzales Hill,
About three hours later, Cumberbatch, the son
of a retired police officer, was shot dead while
walking along Quarry Street, Diego Martin.
Police said around 9.40 pm residents of Quarry
Street, in an area called "Rat Hole", heard loud
They found Cumberbatch and Nigel Ferguson,
20, suffering from gunshots wounds about the
body. They were taken to the St James Medical
Complex where Cumberbatch was pronounced
dead on arrival. He was shot twice in the chest
and once in the upper torso. Ferguson was treated
and transferred to the Port-of-Spain General
hospital with wounds to both legs.
In the latest incident, David Cumberbatch was
pronounced dead on arrival at the Eric Williams
Medical Complex, Mt Hope, yesterday, after he
was shot in the head after purchasing car parts
at Bamboo Settlement #2, Valsayn.
According to police reports, Cumberbatch, of
Mercer Road, Diego Martin, and his friend Sean
Thomas were in his blue Mitsubishi Lancer when
they were shot at as they approached a fishing
farm in the area.
Police said the gunman was seen hiding in
some nearby bushes as the car approached. Cum-
berbatch, they said, drove to the hospital and
was pronounced dead on arrival. Thomas was
warded in a serious condition with gunshot
wounds to the upper body last night.
Insp Mark Maharaj, Sgt Vetus Hernandez and
officers of Homicide Bureau Region Two visited
the area and conducted investigations.
In an unrelated incident, a Point Fortin man
was yesterday was shot in the neck at point blank
range but survived the gun attack.
Up to late yesterday, police said the bullet was
still lodged in 32-year-old Sherwin "Scrappy"
Thompson s neck.
According to reports, Thompson was standing
outside his Gun Hill, Cap-de-ville Road home
shortly after 9 am, repairing a vehicle which was
parked at the roadside, when he was shot.
He told police that he suddenly felt an object
on his neck, followed by a burning sensation. By
the time he turned around, his attackers was
already running away.
Neighbours contacted the Emergency Health
Services and he was taken to the Point Fortin
Area Hospital where he was treated and later
transferred to the San Fernando General Hospi-
tal.Doctors said the bullet missed his vital arteries.
He remains warded in a stable condition.
Point Fortin police are continuing investiga-
Murder toll jumps to
132 as 3 more killed
A view of the inside of the unfinished Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba.
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