Has former CL Financial executive chairman Lawrence Duprey made surreptitious visits to Trinidad and Tobago during the life of the subpoena to attend the commission of enquiry into CLICO?
This is the question that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan wants the Immigration authorities and the police to answer.
Speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference, Ramlogan said he took note of a report in yesterday’s Express which stated there were reports that Duprey had visited this country.
Ramlogan stressed that if Duprey were allowed to enter and leave Trinidad and Tobago without being served the subpoena, the police have serious questions to answer.
“If it is that, from our Immigration records, Mr Duprey was allowed to enter and leave without being served, that is a serious indictment, and it raises a lot of questions that require to be answered. Because this is obviously a matter of grave and urgent public importance and requires some priority by the Police Service. One can only hope that was the approach taken by the Police Service,” he said.
He added that Government would want answers as to whether the Police Service quickly took steps to alert Trinidad and Tobago Immigration authorities who should have had his name red-flagged, so that the minute he enters Trinidad and Tobago airspace or waters, he could be served with the summons.
Ramlogan said: “Mr Duprey didn’t need a summons to tell him that he is wanted by that commission of enquiry. He has had lawyers appearing for him in the commission of enquiry. I am sure that somebody must keep in touch with him from Trinidad to tell him that they (the commission’s chairman) want him to come and testify in a matter where he is the central protagonist and, indeed, the fountainhead of the CLICO empire. So that that (summons) could not have come as a shock to him,” Ramlogan said.
He said while Duprey could not be penalised for his failure to attend the enquiry, his (and Monteil’s) no-show provides a “solid legal platform” for the commission to make an adverse finding against him.
“Bear in mind that your non-appearance and your failure to co-operate now provides the commission with a solid legal platform and foundation to make the kinds of findings and adverse inferences, based on the unanswered evidence and the unchallenged testimony that has gone before the commission of enquiry. That, no doubt, would assist in the criminal investigations that are underway.
The DPP (Director of Public Prosections) has assembled a team that comprises an international firm and experienced lawyers who are specialists in the relevant field, and that team is working assiduously. The criminal investigation is underway. The commission of enquiry…has acted as a catalyst for the criminal investigation. But one looks forward with bated breath to Sir Anthony Colman’s final report which we expect would assist in the pursuit of social justice, one way or the other,” Ramlogan said.
Former CL group finance director Andre Monteil, who was a no-show at the commission of enquiry, is likely to be given a meagre $2,000 fine while Duprey would escape scot-free because the commission of enquiry has no power outside of the jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago courts, and there is no facility in the CoE Act for extraditing him on the grounds that he failed to comply with the witness summons.
Asked what could be done to force Duprey to return, the Attorney General reiterated that the principle in law which governs a constitutional democracy is that a Parliament can only make laws that are enforceable within its own territory and jurisdiction.
“A Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago constitutionally cannot make laws that it can enforce on foreign soil. You can only do so by virtue of some co-operation or permission with the foreign country,” he said.
He added it was difficult to serve a summons in a foreign jurisdiction with respect to criminal proceedings. In civil proceedings, however, it was different, he said, citing the fact that he was able to serve former Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (UDeCOTT) executive chairman Calder Hart outside of the jurisdiction because the civil rules of court permitted that.