PORT OF SPAIN – The Integrity Commission has terminated its investigation of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar in relation to the emails presented by Opposition leader Keith Rowley in 2013, saying there are “no or insufficient grounds” to continue the probe.
Persad-Bissessar’s attorney Israel Khan, SC, confirmed last night that he received a letter to that effect yesterday afternoon from the commission.
Khan confirmed the situation following a press statement yesterday from the Office of the Prime Minister, which stated the Registrar of the Integrity Commission had yesterday written to Khan in connection with the Emailgate allegations.
The commission and the police had been investigating the Emailgate issue following Rowley’s May 20, 2013 presentation in the Parliament of emails which alleged a multi-pronged conspiracy by the PM and senior Government officials.
The emails purported to have emanated from those officials’ email addresses and alleged a conspiracy concerning the controversial Section 34 issue, including a plot to “harm” a journalist and also to “bug” the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Rowley had called on the commission to probe the matter.
Persad-Bissessar, after hearing of the emails in Parliament, immediately sent a letter on the emails to acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, stating: “The correspondence purporting to be email exchanges between government office holders, alleges serious criminal conduct. I hereby request that you cause an investigation into these very serious allegations and ascertain the authenticity of those emails and take such action as is required according to the laws of T&T.”
The police probe, headed by DCP Glen Hackett, is still ongoing. However, according to Khan, he received a letter via messenger yesterday around 3.45 pm from the Integrity Commission. In it, he said the commission, citing Section 34(6) of the Integrity Act law, indicated that it had insufficient grounds to continue the probe and it was dropped. Khan said he immediately sent the letter to the PM.
The OPM subsequently issued a statement which noted that Commission Registrar (Martin Farrell), in a letter captioned “Investigation into alleged ‘email affair’ by the commission, stated: “…The commission, pursuant to Section 34(6) of the Act is satisfied that there are no or insufficient grounds for continuing the investigation into the above matter and accordingly this investigation is hereby terminated.”
The OPM statement said the letter “effectively clears her and the Parliament of any impropriety with respect to the Opposition Leader’s ‘fake email’ allegations.”