By FRANCIS JOSEPH
Wednesday, February 13 2008
TRADE Minister Dr Keith Rowley has been cleared by the Integrity Commission of any wrongdoing. But the Minister is not leaving it there, as he intends to seek aggravated and exemplary damages against the Commission for what he called the “gross damage to my personal character and public reputation.”
By a letter dated February 1, Martin Farrell, Registrar of the Integrity Commission, wrote to Rowley about the investigation which they had been conducting since 2004 concerning the Landate housing project in Tobago, and the award of the contract for the Customs and Excise building in Port-of-Spain. Farrell wrote, “As a result of further investigations into this matter, the Commission is now of the view that there is no longer any basis for suspecting that you may have conducted yourself in a manner that was in breach of your duties under the Act (Integrity in Public Life Act 2000), and I have been directed to advise the Director of Public Prosecutions of this decision.” Farrell ended his letter, “This investigation is now at an end and the Commission thanks you for your cooperation.”
But in a statement issued yesterday, the Diego Martin West MP pointed out that in October 2004, Ganga Singh, the then MP for Caroni East, using the protection of parliamentary privilege, “dramatically made the most scandalous and unfounded allegations against me resulting in a public Commission of Inquiry, with which he failed to cooperate and in which I was exonerated from any unlawful conduct of any nature.”
Rowley said that notwithstanding this, the Integrity Commission embarked on its own separate inquiry. The Minister said he was shocked to see in the media that he was the subject of a police investigation by way of a submission of rumours to the DPP.
Rowley said the baseless allegations have caused gross damage to his personal character and public reputation and additionally have caused his family, particularly his wife, whose private sector project, was the subject of the initial slander, inestimable discomfiture and unwarranted embarrassment.”
Although the Commission has admitted that Rowley has been cleared, the Minister is still seeking a declaration that it acted in bad faith and/or was motivated by ulterior motives and/or was reckless.
Rowley said he was seeking aggravated and exemplary damages.
The case comes up for hearing on March 3 before Madame Justice Maureen Rajnauth-Lee in the Port-of-Spain High Court.
In November 2004, the Integrity Commission embarked on an investigation in respect to unspecified allegations regarding the siphoning of materials from the Scarborough Hospital site to a development project at Mason Hall, Tobago.
The development at Mason Hall, owned by Rowley’s wife Sharon, has been referred to as the Landate project.
As i have indi fockin cated on many occasions, once bobol involves a PNMite, expect that the fockers will be cleared.
Plain and simple the mudder cont and Emile Elias that next fockin con man was teefing the material from the Hospital to build he fockin apts.
I am not surprised.