Court blocks FIU from snooping in Griffith’s bank accounts

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

National Transformation Alliance political leader Gary Griffith. –

Leader of the National Transformational Alliance Gary Griffith is hailing an interim injunction barring the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) from securing financial information from his wife and himself as a stance against dictatorship.

In a media release on Saturday, Griffith, a former police commissioner, said the Judiciary is the one branch of the state that has not been intimidated, manipulated and weaponised by the Keith Rowley administration.

The May 2 ruling by Justice Devindra Rampersad stops the FIU from acting until the court makes a final decision on the alleged breach of the Griffiths’ rights.

“This matter involved the Financial Investigations Unit, the FIU, whereby an unconstitutional investigation was launched into my accounts and those of my wife (Nicole Dyer-Griffith), in violation of their guidelines, because there were no red flags of questionable financial activity for them to have a justifiable reason to access the accounts.”

Griffith accused the government of being willing to do anything to pursue maximum rule.

“The Judiciary seems to be the last wall of defence against full-blown dictatorship, we are not surprised by the not so subtle attack by (Minister of National Security Fitzgerald) Hinds on the Judiciary, which, even though attempts are being made to walk back his comments, proves without a doubt why this government needs to be immediately democratically removed from office.”

On May 1, Hinds commenting on another ruling by Justice Rampersad in the Brent Thomas case said criminals have friends everywhere including the Judiciary.

Griffith said his matter is one of many where the constitutional rights of citizens were being infringed and legal redress was sought. He referred to case of Thomas, a gun dealer, who benefited from a ruling by Rampersad on April 25 which quashed criminal charges for possession of automatic rifles and grenades. The judge found Thomas was “abducted” from Barbados by police.

Griffith said these cases highlight a pattern of government manipulation, harassment and abuse of state agencies and different arms of independent institutions, “in the pursuit of their nefarious political agenda.”

Griffith also accused the FIU of embarking on a fishing expedition to violate citizen’s constitutional rights to privacy, in the hopes of unearthing discreditable information.

In a previous case, Griffith was successful in blocking the Prime Minister from tabling an audit report in Parliament into the granting of firearms during his tenure as commissioner during 2018-2021.