Ish and Steve Extradition Quashed

By Alexander Bruzual
Tuesday, November 8 2011 – newsday.co.tt

Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve FergusonAfter a year of legal battles, yesterday businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson won their judicial review hearing against the decision of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to sign extradition warrants against them on October 9, 2010.

The decision was delivered yesterday by Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh in the Port-of-Spain Assizes Third Court.

In a 57-page ruling, Justice Boodoosingh quashed Ramlogan’s decision saying that it was “unjust and oppressive.”

“The decision of the Attorney General to order the extradition of the claimants (Galbaransingh and Ferguson) to the United States of America is quashed. It is declared that the appropriate forum to try the claimants in relation to the award of contracts for the construction of the Piarco Airport is Trinidad and Tobago.

“It is declared that it would be unjust, oppressive and unlawful to order the extradition of the claimants and that (the) extradition is debarred by the operation of section 16(3) of the Extradition Act. Having regard to my clear finding on this issue I do not think it necessary to make an order of prohibition. The effect ought to be the same,” Boodoosingh informed the court.

When contacted by Newsday yesterday, the Attorney General indicated that he was aware of the judgment, however, at the time he was unable to say what his office’s next move would be.

“As of this moment, I have not seen the reasons of the learned judge as we have only just finished our National Security meeting. However, the Government respects the judge’s decision and shall act in a manner which is consistent with the judgment of the court.

But I also intend to speak to our legal advisers on the matter to analyse and discuss the decision to determine the way forward,” Ramlogan said.

Section 16(3) of the Act states that “The Attorney General shall not make an order under this section in the case of a person if it appears to the Attorney General, on the grounds mentioned in section 13(3), that it would be unjust or oppressive to return that person.”

As the decision was being read, both Galbaransingh and Ferguson could be seen smiling broadly at their lawyers — evidently happy at the fact that the decision had been in their favour.

Galbaransingh was represented by attorneys Andrew Mitchell QC and Rajiv Persad.

Ferguson was represented by Edward Fitzgerald QC, Fyard Hosein SC, Rishi Dass, Sasha Bridgemohan, and Annette Mamchan.

The legal teams for both businessmen were instructed by attorney Nyree Alfonso.

The State was represented by Avory Sinanan SC, Kelvin Ramkissoon, Sunita Harrikissoon and Deowattee Dilraj-Battoosingh. They were instructed by attorney Janelle John.

Following the decision, Sinanan requested from the court a stay of execution on the decision for the next 28-days so that the State could assess the ruling and then decide if they would be making an appeal.

“What the AG will now consider is whether or not to appeal the decision, so given the circumstances…we would request that a stay of execution be implemented so that we could have an opportunity to review the ruling. If an appeal is not to be pursued by the State, then we will inform the other side as such,” Sinanan explained.

After further submissions, Justice Boodoosingh granted the State its request. As a result, the High Court Judge indicated that the bail for the two men will continue as fixed (at $2 million each). However, the condition that they report to the Four Roads Police Station would be removed.

Orders for costs by the claimants for the proceedings need to be filed on or before December 15. The responding submissions by the defence (the State) need to be filed by January 16, 2012.

Galbaransingh and Ferguson are accused of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and bid- rigging in relation to two construction packages for the Piarco Airport construction project.

The charges indicated the alleged acts took place in the United States and elsewhere between 1996 and 2001.

Ferguson alone is wanted on an 82-count indictment, including charges of laundering US$3,255,345 ($20,508,673) between the period November 24, 2000 and March 28, 2002.

Galbaransingh is wanted on a 13-count indictment, including charges of laundering US$1million ($6.3 million) between the period June 19, 2001 and December 10, 2001.

They are charged in accordance with Sections 44, 45 and 46 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2000. A United States grand jury returned the indictment against the two on November 29, 2005.

Charges against Galbaransingh and Ferguson in the local courts were discontinued, in favour of prosecution in the American courts.

Six foreign nationals have already been sentenced for their roles in the bid-rigging scheme.

The men benefitted from an almost 50 percent reduction of the penalties as part of a plea bargain arrangement with the US officials, and received jail time, were house arrested and were ordered to pay fines and atonement to the TT Government.

However, despite the ruling, the two businessmen will return to court on Friday as the Piarco II preliminary inquiry continues at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Ejenny Espinet.

Galbaransingh and Ferguson are charged along with former Finance Minister Brian Kuei Tung, former Works and Transport minister, Sadiq Baksh, former chairmen of the Airport’s Authority, Tyrone Gopee and Ameer Edoo, Peter Cateau and Amrith Maharaj.

On June 15, 2010, both Galbaransingh and Ferguson were arrested after the State had learned that their bail had expired. Following this, attorneys for the two men spent the next nine months making bail applications. On March 30, 2011, at their third attempt, the attorneys were able to secure bail before Justice Boodoosingh.

Previous applications, made in June, July and December of last year, were all shot down by the presiding judges — Justice Vasheist Kokaram, Justice Malcom Holdip, and Justice Andre Mon Desir respectively.

They were expected to be released on the same day, however, administrative problems led to their release on the following day.

http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,150214.html

9 Responses to “Ish and Steve Extradition Quashed”


  • No extradition for Ish and Steve
    A High Court judge has ruled that businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson should not be extradited to the United States.

    …Extradition squashed
    Judge: Place to try Ish and Steve is in T&T

  • Based on international law,respect for our local justice system, and just plain ,simple common sense these two gentlemen should never have been considered for deportation to the US…especially given the political undertones of the charges against them both in the US and at home. Ramlogan should resign and go practice in the lower courts defending petty criminals..it’s where he would do the least damage to TnT .

    And by the way, Henry Kissinger was indicted for crimes against humanity, in Belgium. Will the US ever extradite him to stand charges?

  • One of the unfortunate realities is that these defendants were tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.
    This case can be categorized as political revenge engineered by Manning and his henchman, former AG Jeremie. After realizing that the case in the courts of T&T was extremely weak, the AG at the time entered into an agreement mired in duplicity, to extradite these gentlemen. Later they became pawns in a political game involving AG Ramlogan and the desire of the PP to claim impartiality.
    This case dates back to 2002. Justice delayed due to the incompetence of local authorities and possibly a lack of evidence is justice denied.

  • Rowley: Blow to justice in T&T
    Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley says justice in T&T was defeated when the US extradition order for businessmen Ish Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson was quashed by Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh. Rowley’s comment was made in response to a question on Monday’s ruling. He spoke during a news conference at his office in Port-of-Spain yesterday. Asked if he saw the ruling as a defeat for Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Rowley said: “I wouldn’t term it a defeat for the Attorney General…if there is any defeat it would be for justice in Trinidad and Tobago.” Rowley said it was Ramlogan who “facilitated the whole process…So having got the expected result, I wouldn’t call it a defeat.” Rowley also said he found the “intervention to be very timely.”

    • A public comment of this nature by the Leader of the Opposition …”if there is any defeat it would be for justice in T&T”…is in contempt of court in most countries.

    • I agree with Dr. Keith Rowley. This was a set up to attempt to brainwash the people of Trinidad and Tobago !
      Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has shown his true colours and the whole nation knows exactly what went down, we are not fools. This was indeed a defeat for justice in Trinidad & Tobago and Dr. Rowley do not be afraid to call a spade a spade , remember who make up the judiciary in this country and their motto is “All for one and one for all” even in their wrong doing. This nation is going to hell in a handbasket !

  • Now the big question is – Could the charges in the local courts, that were quashed by the previous government, be reinstated??

  • It’s unfortunate the way justice is decided in T&T Today. A blind man could have seen, by the “cooks” operating in the kitchen, what the broth would have turned out to be. One has to ask himself, why were these individuals fighting so relentlessly to have their cases tried in a country where in the past, their supporters have cried foul justice.

    Is it because they knew that they would have been unmasked in and given the jail terms they deserved in the US, or is it that they thinks we are fools.

    Is it that, they already knew that with the intervention of the Ag, the way was being paved for them to fleece millions from the state and decent taxpayers again.

    It’s not stupid to think that sensible Trinidadians and Tobagonians already knew the answers to these questions, only the gullible and foolish will say that they could not see it coming…… Wake up my People, before it’s too late.

  • Yet some naively think that it’s America that’s controlling the world? Guess what , our local immoral criminals ,with means hate the Caribbean Court of Appeal due in great measures to the ethnic/ racial make up of luminaries, and depending on their possible rulings , love their local Justices ,sometimes.
    They likewise hate Yankee Justice system , and so would kill their mom , hang their pops , and burry their kids alive ,if it would save them from it’s wrath , via extraditions – in similar manner to their Yardee neighbors.
    Now here is the big enchilada question folks , and it is , why do they still adore White Massa, Britannia Privy Council, from Chief Justice Shama , his pal Basdeo Panday, and dem business cronies ,such as Ish ,and dish?
    It can’t get more funny , if you ask me, de ridiculous shenanigans ,that masquerades here in T&T call justice, where public servants ,can be demonize with impunity , simply because of their racial backgrounds , and or political affiliations, and few can dare speak up where necessary.
    We wish our people well- especially the poor and needy, unable to affect political fortunes ,beyond some useless vote, hmmmmm?
    Luv humanity!

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