Al-Rawi: I can’t say if Cabinet, PM approved indemnity agreement

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former attorney general Faris Al-Rawi –

FORMER attorney general Faris Al-Rawi said since the related matters are still “under the watch” of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), he cannot say publicly whether the Prime Minister or the Cabinet approved an indemnity agreement for Jamaica-born King’s Counsel Vincent Nelson, which he signed off in 2017.

Al-Rawi was speaking at a virtual press conference on Wednesday morning.

On Monday, DPP Roger Gaspard, SC, announced the State was discontinuing the charges against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen.

The two were accused of collecting kickbacks from Nelson.

The charges against Ramdeen and Ramlogan were dropped because Nelson, the main witness, refused to testify against them until the conclusion of a civil claim for breach of an indemnity agreement by the State.

The agreement included promises such as not disclosing the information to any criminal investigator, prosecuting authority, tax-enforcement authority or disciplinary authority outside TT.

Al-Rawi purportedly signed this on behalf of the Government.

On Tuesday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar asked whether Cabinet had approved the agreement.

She said, “This could hardly have been authorised by a sole minister. This cannot be just the attorney general on his own going off on a frolic…”

She said if the Cabinet had approved the indemnity deal, “then the government lost all legitimacy and authority to remain in office.”

Asked about this on Wednesday, Al-Rawi said the matter of the Office of the Attorney General’s position is “again, the subject of disclosure into the court.

“Agreements that come under the Office of the AG are under the Office of the AG. The Constitution sets that out in section 76 and 79 and the matters are carefully managed.

“I don’t want to get into the details again, respectfully, because the matters are under the watch of the DPP and also in the civil proceedings.”