Trinidad PM likely cleared of wrongdoing in Miami bank account scandal

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Trinidad PM likely cleared of wrongdoing in Miami bank account scandal
Supt. (Ag.) Wendell Lucas of the TTPS Financial Investigations Branch, right, speaks during a news conference at the Police Administration Building yesterday. At left is Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.
Supt. (Ag.) Wendell Lucas of the TTPS Financial Investigations Branch, right, speaks during a news conference at the Police Administration Building yesterday. At left is Police Commissioner Gary Griffith.

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Pre­lim­i­nary find­ings by the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) have all but cleared Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley of any wrong­do­ing in re­la­tion to al­le­ga­tions of fi­nan­cial im­pro­pri­ety.

Dur­ing his con­tri­bu­tion to the bud­get de­bate on Oc­to­ber 9, 2018, Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Mooni­lal said he vis­it­ed bank­ing in­sti­tu­tions in Mi­a­mi where he re­tained emails and doc­u­ments which re­vealed Row­ley re­ceived funds from the A&V Drilling fake oil scan­dal.

He called out bank­ing ac­count num­bers and named Dr Row­ley and for­mer Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment (PNM) can­di­date for Siparia, Vidya De­ok­iesingh.

At yes­ter­day’s week­ly po­lice me­dia brief­ing, Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith said when the mat­ter was brought to its at­ten­tion the TTPS launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He said, “the ini­tial pre­lim­i­nary find­ings have stat­ed that in re­gards to the al­le­ga­tion made by that Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment on the Ho­n­ourable Prime Min­is­ter, the pre­lim­i­nary find­ings re­vealed there was no nexus be­tween the sub­ject and the ac­count num­ber iden­ti­fied in that case sum­ma­ry based on the ac­count.”

He went on to say that “there was no iden­ti­fied trans­ac­tion be­tween the sub­ject and the oth­er sub­jects iden­ti­fied.”

Head of the TTPS Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Branch Supt (Ag) Wen­dell Lu­cas who was al­so in at­ten­dance said the mat­ter is still on­go­ing and has not been “closed.”

He said the po­lice are still work­ing with the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Unit (FIU) and for­eign coun­ter­parts to bring fi­nal­i­ty to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He said this should be done in short or­der.

In re­sponse to the TTPS’s rev­e­la­tion Dr Mooni­lal told Guardian Me­dia that “the TTPS is now ini­ti­at­ing con­tact with me to con­tin­ue an in­quiry, the CoP in­di­cat­ed that there was a “pre­lim­i­nary” find­ing but al­so stat­ed that in­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­tin­u­ing. I am meet­ing with the TTPS next week on this mat­ter. I leant that the of­fi­cer who start­ed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion from the Fraud Squad was sub­se­quent­ly sus­pend­ed from du­ty…not sure if it was re­lat­ed to this mat­ter. That of­fi­cer had in­di­cat­ed that at­tempts to con­tact me were un­fruit­ful. I al­so in­di­cat­ed that I can’t re­call the TTPS ap­proach­ing me on this mat­ter. But I am pre­pared to as­sist as best I could.”

A day af­ter the al­le­ga­tions were made, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley made a state­ment in the Par­lia­ment where he re­fut­ed Mooni­lal’s claims.

“I state here, as I have done al­ready else­where, that there is ab­solute­ly no truth to what the mem­ber for Oropouche East has stat­ed and/or im­put­ed. I have no bank ac­count in Mi­a­mi, USA; I was not par­ty to any bank­ing trans­ac­tion with Mr De­ok­iesingh, For­mu­la One Trad­ing or any per­son or per­sons with re­spect to any bank in Flori­da, the Unit­ed States, or any bank in the world for that mat­ter Madame Speak­er,” he said.

The Prime Min­is­ter al­so ini­ti­at­ed le­gal ac­tion against Mooni­lal.

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