State goes after Ramlogan, Ramdeen over legal fees: GOVT WANTS EX-AG’S SALARY

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Former attorney general Anand Ramlogan –

The State has filed civil proceedings arising from the collapse of the criminal case against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, and attorney Gerald Ramdeen.

The claim comes more than a year after Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC, made the shocking announcement of his decision to discontinue the case against the two because the State’s star witness, Vincent Nelson, KC, refused to testify against them until the end of his civil case over an alleged breach of an indemnity agreement with the government.

The claim was filed on Thursday and was also served on the two.

In its civil claim, the State is demanding reimbursement or forfeiture of all or part of the fees the two received.

In Ramlogan’s case, all or part of the remuneration he received as attorney general under the People’s Partnership government. The State also wants £200,367 returned.

The claim alleges breach of fiduciary or equivalent duty. It also seeks an account of profits, equitable compensation and damages. The two are asked to deliver any documentation set out in the claim’s statement of case. The claim further alleged bribery, unlawful means conspiracy and dishonest assistance.

Filing the claim against the two former UNC politicians was attorney Tenille Ramkissoon, head of the Attorney General’s secretariat.

This action also came a year after Attorney General Reginald Armour promised to pursue legal action against the two when the kickback conspiracy case against them collapsed because of Nelson’s unwillingness to testify.

Nelson was convicted on June 4, 2019, sentenced on March 2, 2020, and ordered to pay $2.25 million in fines, which he wants the State to pay.

The State has filed a counterclaim against Nelson for every cent paid to him.

In response to Nelson’s $96 million claim for compensation for an alleged breach of an indemnity agreement to protect him from prosecution, the State fired its salvo in the counterclaim.

The counterclaim, filed along with a re-amended defence on November 7, 2022, alleged Nelson received the money as a result of “unlawful and unjust enrichment” at the expense of the people of TT.

Attorney Gerald Ramdeen –

In its counterclaim, the State contends any income Nelson earned since his corrupt agreement to pay kickbacks to Ramlogan or could have earned since then would be premised on his continued dishonest and corrupt failure to disclose that he had “corruptly agreed to pay the said kickback to Ramlogan.”

On October 10, 2022, DPP Roger Gaspard said he had decided to discontinue the case against Ramlogan and Ramdeen.

In an immediate response, Armour described the development as “stunning” and assured he would seek redress.

Armour said, “As Attorney General, I wish to assure the people of this country that I will consider every available avenue to protect the public’s interests, including (but not limited to) civil proceedings to recover any possible proceeds of the crimes allegedly committed by Messrs Ramlogan and Ramdeen and disciplinary proceedings before the Disciplinary Committee of the legal profession.”

Ramdeen and Ramlogan were charged in 2019 with conspiring with Nelson for Ramlogan to misbehave in public office as AG by accepting money from Nelson as a reward for giving him state briefs.

Nelson is seeking damages for breach of indemnity between himself and former attorney general Faris Al-Rawi. Nelson claimed the indemnity was promised to him.

He has also appealed his conviction and sentence.

Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC –

When the criminal case against Ramdeen and Ramlogan collapsed in the magistrates’ court, Armour said, “The discontinuance of the criminal charges against Messrs Ramlogan and Ramdeen by the Director of Public Prosecutions has understandably come as a stunning development and surprise, more so as the Director’s decision is said to be predicated upon an indication by the State witness Vincent Nelson that he does not intend to give evidence pending the determination of civil proceedings he brought in the High Court against the State of TT.

“In those proceedings, he is claiming, among other things, that the State should indemnify him for the fine of $2.25 million he was ordered by the High Court to pay when he pleaded guilty to charges brought against him for conspiring with Messrs Ramlogan and Ramdeen to pay bribes to Mr Ramlogan.

“The discontinuance is also surprising having regard to the fact that Nelson entered into a plea agreement with the DPP to give evidence against Ramlogan and Ramdeen in exchange for a recommendation by the Director to the High Court that Nelson be given a non-custodial sentence. Mr Nelson has not, to date, recanted any admission of wrongdoing he made in the criminal proceedings.”

He added, “As Attorney General, I wish to assure the people of this country that I will consider every available avenue to protect the public’s interests, including (but not limited to) civil proceedings to recover any possible proceeds of the crimes allegedly committed by Messrs Ramlogan and Ramdeen and disciplinary proceedings before the Disciplinary Committee of the legal profession.

“Having obtained a fuller account of the Director’s decision to discontinue these criminal proceedings, I will be taking the advice of eminent local and foreign Senior and King’s Counsel to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the pursuit of justice for the people of TT.”