State to pay Inshan Ishmael $0.83m for work on police vehicles

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Inshan Ishmael

BUSINESSMAN Inshan Ishmael will receive, in a week, the outstanding money owed the State owes him for vehicle maintenance work his company, ROC, did for the police service.

A consent order is expected to be formalised within the week after attorneys for the State receive instructions from the Attorney General.

This comes after attorneys for the police service admitted Ishmael was owed at least $0.83 million.

Yet, in January, the State, in defence of Ishmael’s claim, said there were no police records showing any contract between ROC and the TTPS, nor was any money owed for 2018-2021.

“During the period 2018-2021, there are no records of there having been any contract/s between the claimant and the defendant for the provision of vehicular maintenance services…

“The defendant avers that there was no valid and enforceable and/or no contract in existence between the claimant and defendant with the consequence that the defendant does not owe the claimant the sum claimed or at all,” the State’s defence of Ishmael’s claim for payment contended.

Ishmael had sued the State to recover the money owed to him.

However, after a parallel freedom of information request to the police service, it was admitted he was owed $834,405.21. This admission was made on March 23, in a letter sent to Ishmael’s attorney Richard Jaggasar.

At a hearing on March 25, attorneys for the police service confirmed the information, and attorneys for the AG said they also belatedly received the same instructions.

State counsel Avione Romain said the instructions given previously would have led to what was contained in the filed defence.

“Subsequent to that, we were told there may be some money owed.”

However, she said the attorneys would require instructions from the AG to admit to that.

“We require that approval. We now have instructions that sum are owed but we are not authorised to admit that.”

Justice Carol Gobin questioned the “instructions” previously received by the State when the defence was drafted and then filed.

“One expected some kind of communication. You have the State saying, ‘We owe no money and have no contract,” and now…

“Can we grant judgment? Why is he not entitled to the sum?”

The State was given a week to “firm up” its instructions and verify the amount owed.

“Let the AG know the judge intends to grant judgment for that sum,” Gobin said.

She also adjourned the freedom of information matter to June 1, since the Commissioner of Police’s attorney, Chinara Harewood, said there were two items still outstanding in Ishmael’s request for which the commissioner’s office was working on a decision on access.

In its letter on March 23, the police service legal unit said a thorough, detailed reconciliation exercise from the police’s finance branch showed the total sum of estimates, invoices and quotations by ROC was $1,801,225.34, of which $966,820.13 had been paid.

The legal unit gave the outstanding balance as $834,405.21 and said there were ten duplicate invoices amounting to $86,440.02.