Appeal Court delivers final ruling in Auditor General appeal

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Auditor General Jaiwantie Ramdass leaving the Hall of Justice on June 17. – File photo by Jeff K Mayers

THE COURT of Appeal has delivered its full written decision in the Auditor General’s appeal of an investigation of her office by a team hand-picked by the government.

Already, the Finance Minister said he intends to appeal the court’s ruling which stopped the investigation of Auditor General Jaiwantie Ramdass.

On June 21, Justices of Appeal Mark Mohammed, Peter Rajkumar and James Aboud unanimously upheld Ramdass’s appeal of the High Court’s refusal to permit her to challenge the lawfulness of the Cabinet’s decision to appoint the team, led by retired judge David Harris.

They delivered a summary of their decision. On June 25, they delivered their full written decision.

On June 21, Finance Minister Colm Imbert in a statement said he instructed the State’s attorneys to apply for leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council urgently.

The Court of Appeal granted Ramdass leave, stopped the investigation of the Auditor General and ordered that her lawsuit will be heard by another judge in the High Court.

On May 7, the Finance Minister announced the Harris team in a press release.

Ramdass has complained that Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s recommendation to Cabinet to initiate the probe, select the investigation team, set its terms of reference and have it report directly to him, was biased. She also complained that the Harris team was mandated to make findings on her conduct and that Imbert was responsible for their remuneration.

Ramdass was represented by Anand Ramlogan, SC, Ganesh Saroop, Kent Samlal, Natasha Bisram and Aasha Ramlal. The Finance Minister and the Cabinet were represented by Douglas Mendes, SC, Simon de la Bastide, SC, Jo-Anne Julien and Sonnel David-Longe.