Police: Cummings still under probe

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Foster Cummings –

POLICE are still investigating Minister of Youth Development and National Service Foster Cummings and are unable to say when that investigation will be completed.

Speaking at the police service’s weekly media briefing on Thursday, public information officer asp Sheridon Hill confirmed that Cummings is still being investigated.

Acting Snr Supt assigned to the Anti-Corruption Investigation Bureau (ACIB) Deryck Walker said investigations such as the one involving Cummings, can take “from a day to ten years” based on what is uncovered throughout the investigation.

“Time is relative, it depends on the complexity of that investigation and it is difficult to set a time to finish any particular investigation. As I said, I will not discuss the particular investigations and will speak in general terms.”

Asked how many politicians were currently being investigated, Walker said he could not say, and could not speak on the dollar value for any of the offences either.

In May, the public was informed that Cummings was being investigated after Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial disclosed the contents of a leaked Special Branch report.

Last year, police sought the court’s permission for production orders to be used to obtain information from several financial entities as they probe payments to companies formerly linked to the minister.

Cummings’s attorneys objected to the police’s application before the court, made under section 32 of the Proceeds of Crime Act, on the grounds that the production orders could not be used in the way they wanted and that the application was too wide. The judge hearing the matter suspended the production orders, but in October, last year ruled against the objection of Cummings’s lawyers.

Also at the media briefing was Insp Byron Daniel, also of ACIB who said, in 2020, one politician was charged for the offence of corruptly agreeing to accept money. He did name the politician.

He was listing some of the bureau’s recent successes which include prosecuting two public officers in 2020 along with two civilians for misbehaviour in public office and corruptly paying money to a public officer.

In 2017, the ACIB charged members of the defence force for money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the government of $3.5 million. The following year ,16 people were charged with 1,152 offences including conspiracy to defraud, money laundering, corruptly agreeing to accept money and corruptly agreeing to pay money totalling $25 million from varying government entities.

Asked which government agency was most targeted, Daniel said he could not say, as the matters are before the courts.

He added that, in 2019, three former politicians were charged with misbehaviour in public office.