Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday hailed the “historic landmark ruling” by the High Court which he said would pave the way for former State executives like Calder Hart, Leelanda Rampaul, Ken Julien, Malcolm Jones and others to face trial for actions and decisions taken while serving on State boards.
Ramlogan said the judgment removed a main defence offered by all the former directors who served under the PNM administration and who had been sued following the forensic probes conducted under this People’s Partnership administration.
Ramlogan said: “The four-year limitation period would not operate to bar claims when it can be showed that the alleged wrongdoers were themselves in control of the State company that suffered the loss.”
He said the PNM was in power for eight years and if the four-year limitation period had been upheld by the court, it would have meant that no trial could have taken place.
“This judgment would revolutionise corporate governance, especially in the public sector, as board members would be alive to the possibility of a legal suit, even after they demit office, when wrongdoing is uncovered,” the Attorney General said.
He added that the judgment had immediate consequences for the slew of civil lawsuits which including one brought against Hart who was sued for $500 million, Krishna Bahadoorsingh and Rampaul; the $1.2 billion lawsuit against former president of Petrotrin, Malcolm Jones for the GTL project; $30 million lawsuit against former eTecK directors for the failed Bamboo Network Limited investment and $12 million lawsuit against former UTT chairman, Ken Julien for the Aripo Guest House (which was leased for use by Juliana Pena). All these persons would have to be cross-examined, Ramlogan stated.
The judgment was delivered by Justice Devindra Rampersad in the case between eTecK and eight directors, including former chairman Ken Julien, Brian Copeland, Wendy Fitzwilliam and others.
The defendants, who argued through their attorneys, who included Douglas Mendes SC and John Jeremie SC, leading Stuart Young and Michael Quamina, as well as Kerwyn Garcia and Steven Singh, contended that the matter was statute-barred...READ MORE