PORT OF SPAIN — The saga of “emailgate” continues to unfold as Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley was asked on Tuesday to hand over his computer by police officers.
Rowley told them he was willing to assist with the investigations but also asked the police to put in writing the basis for their request.
The request came from Inspector Sylvester of the IT department of the Police Service. Sylvester was one of three officers who met with the Opposition Leader on Tuesday. Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson led the interview.
Rowley said yesterday he was immediately prepared to hand over his electronic devices – two computers, two iPads and an iPhone. However, his attorney, Faris Al-Rawi, intervened to inquire of Richardson if Rowley was under investigation.
Both Rowley and Al-Rawi categorically denied a report which the Express had received that he refused to hand over his computer, saying that such a report was “completely untrue and totally false”.
“There has never been and there is not now any reluctance on my part to hand over my computer,” Rowley stressed.
Said Al-Rawi: “Inspector Sylvester, from the IT department, asked Dr. Rowley if he would give over his computer to demonstrate that he had nothing to hide. And I asked him upon what basis he had asked the question and whether Dr. Rowley was under investigation. DCP Richardson quickly responded that Dr. Rowley was not under any investigation. Dr. Rowley immediately indicated his willingness to assist the police in all matters.
Put it in writing
“And I, as his lawyer, asked the police essentially to indicate the basis for their request and what specifically they were looking for so that we could assist them. DCP Richardson indicated that he would put his request into writing immediately. Dr. Rowley indicated that if he were to write that very afternoon (Tuesday afternoon), that he (Richardson) would get a reply the same afternoon. But up to the close of business today (yesterday), no request from the police has been forthcoming,” Al-Rawi stated.
Rowley said yesterday it appeared that the police investigation was geared to investigating the mover of the no-confidence motion and not the persons against whom the allegations were made.
Noting it was Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar who said he (Rowley) should be under investigation, Rowley said: “This is a helluva development where a Member of Parliament speaks on an issue in the Parliament and appears to find himself the subject of investigation.”
He said while Richardson denied he was being investigated, he [Richardson] said they [the police] wanted his computer “to clear up everything out of an abundance of caution”.
Rowley and Al-Rawi also raised the fact that Richardson came to the interview with a document that he (Richardson) got from the prime minister.
Al-Rawi said Richardson indicated upon his enquiry that they had in fact obtained documents from the prime minister and not from the Clerk of the House, to whom Rowley had provided the information (i.e. document).
“Therefore, they were not even able to confirm that the document in their hands was the same document that Dr. Rowley provided to the Parliament,” said Al Rawi.
Rowley said they discovered Richardson never even obtained or read the Hansard of what he had said in Parliament last week Monday. Rowley said in response to questions, the police also revealed they had not obtained similar items (computers, etc) from the office-holders mentioned in the e-mails.
Al-Rawi said the police came “completely and totally unprepared” to interview Rowley. He said the questioning seemed to be ad hoc.
“They could provide no clarification for what they were looking,” he added. (Express)