Firearms dealer close to filing contempt action against top cop

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Commissioner of Police Erla Harewood-Christopher – Photo by Sureash Cholai

ATTORNEYS for firearms dealer Towfeek Ali are awaiting a response from the police on the missing 500 rounds of 9-millimetre ammunition seized from his dealership in October 2022 before they start contempt proceedings against the commissioner and two senior police officers.

Attorney Darren Mitchell filed an affidavit on February 27, in which he said his clients, Ali and his Firearms Training Institute, intend to initiate contempt proceedings against top cop Erla Harewood-Christopher and her officers for failing to comply with a court order to return a number of firearms and ammunition seized from Ali during an alleged 18-day audit of his dealership in October 2022.

On Monday, Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher was asked at a joint select committee of Parliament about the status of the investigation.

On January 23, Justice Devindra Rampersad ordered the police to return the guns and ammunition to Ali. All but the 500 rounds of ammunition were returned on February 3, Mitchell said.

Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal raised the issue of the missing ammunition at the JSC and at two opposition media briefings.

Newsday was told Ali’s attorneys are awaiting a response to the Mitchell affidavit.

On February 17, the police’s legal officer Michael Bissoondial wrote to Ananda Rampersad, another of Ali’s attorneys, saying the police had launched an investigation and they were awaiting the outcome before they could provide any further response on the alleged disappearance of the ammunition.

On February 12, the first time Moonilal raised the issue was raised at a UNC media briefing, Harewood-Christopher told CCN TV6 the matter was engaging the attention of the Professional Standards Bureau.

On Monday, Moonilal pressed her for a status update on the investigation.

The commissioner was saved from answering after the JSC chairman, Port of Spain South MP Keith Scotland, said the matter was before the court and therefore sensitive.

Harewood-Christopher did not answer calls to her mobile number on Tuesday.