By Jada Loutoo
December 20, 2011 – newsday.co.tt
ATTORNEY GENERAL (AG) Anand Ramlogan will not pursue an appeal in the extradition of former UNC financiers Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson.
In a statement yesterday, Ramlogan said he came to the view that “the ends of justice” will be served by foregoing the appeal, and allowing the criminal prosecution currently before the local courts to proceed.
Ramlogan has been openly criticised in relation to the extradition case.
Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh, on November 7, quashed the AG’s October 9, 2010, decision to sign the extradition warrants against the two men who are wanted in the United States on bid- rigging charges.
Boodoosingh, in his ruling on the judicial review application sought by the two, said the signing of the extradition warrant was “unjust and oppressive.”
Ramlogan, however, noted his decision not to appeal now paves the way for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to take the necessary steps to law indictments against the two businessmen in respect of the charges against them in relation to the Piarco expansion project, as they have been committed to stand trial in the Assizes.
“Further, it is open to the DPP to consider again, in an independent exercise of his discretion whether to reinstate charges withdrawn in respect of conduct relating to CP 9 and CP 13 packages of the Airport Construction Project,” he said in his statement. Contacted yesterday, DPP Roger Gaspard said he did not wish to comment on the matter.
In his statement, which was given on the date of the expiration of the time stipulated by the Civil Proceedings Rules to file an appeal, Ramlogan said his decision “would be in the interest of all concerned.”
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 (TT$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.
Ramlogan said he examined the judge’s decision and sought advice from Queen’s Counsel James Lewis.
Lewis noted that while the reasoning of the judge contained errors on the issue of the appropriate forum for trying the two and the chances of success of an appeal was high, the “pragmatic points” outweighed the merits of a successful appeal.
“The present extradition proceedings have five and a half years. The claimants are well funded and determined to assert every possible right of appeal and have demonstrated their determination to do so at every appeal,” Lewis advised, as he went on to point out the possible time line for the matter if appealed was by both sides as the case progressed.
He noted the case was likely to continue a further six years.
He said a trial could not proceed in the US, until extradition proceedings ran its course, adding that almost a decade had passed since the commission of the alleged offices. He said any further delay must be minimised. He also noted that the fading memories of witnesses must be minimised, while he spoke of the amount of money spent to date without a trial.
Lewis also noted that there was the possibility of reinstating the discontinued charges and the possibility of having “one global trial with all the defendants and charges.”
In his statement, Ramlogan said he chose Lewis’ advice after meeting with US Attorney General Eric Holder, adding that the British Queen’s Counsel was recognised and respected by the US.
Ramlogan said he made the decision to sign the extradition warrants “in good faith,” pointing out that the procedure began before he took office.
In coming to his decision not to pursue an appeal, Ramlogan said he considered the ruling of Justice Boodoosingh and that of the Court of Appeal, which granted Galbaransingh and Ferguson leave to petition the court to challenge the AG’s decision.
Ramlogan also noted that while the State was ordered to pay costs in relation to the latest lawsuit filed by the former UNC financiers, he said this will be dealt with when the parties return to court to make submissions on the issue.
Ramlogan also said he has instructed his attorney to serve a pre-action protocol letter on Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley for defamation in relation to comments made on the issue of the extradition.
8 thoughts on “AG won’t appeal Ish, Steve case”
AG not appealing Ish, Steve matter
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has decided not to appeal the decision of a High Court judge to quash the extradition of businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson.
Over to the DPP
AG explains why no appeal in Ish, Steve extradition as deadline expires
‘Assassination plot a successful distraction’
THE alleged assassination plot against Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and members of her Cabinet was successfully used to distract the public from focussing on the extradition matter of United National Congress financiers Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has said.
Ramlogan moves closer to suing Rowley
ATTORNEY General Anand Ramlogan has moved one step closer to suing Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley for defamation arising out statements he made following the High Court ruling in the Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson extradition matter.
“the ends of justice” will be served by foregoing the appeal, and allowing the criminal prosecution currently before the local courts to proceed.”Ag Rammy
Lord have mercy , we luv our local courts , but not the T&T based,CCJ Court , and again , yes, the neo colonial British , Privy Council.Well , I’ll be ….
Well dis is politics, and should we be surprise re dis maneuver, some ask? Maybe he had a wise grand-mom , like I did, folks. Mind often said , “never cut your nose to spoil your face.”
Let’s ‘give a shout out,’ to Papa Basdeo Pandy,who would often say, when he was running de show back in the day, “politics has it’s own morality.” By de way, best wishes , on the Mikilah generation X, power positioning, comeback. What better way to preserving one’s legacy , huh?
Good job , big fella , as your philosophical thinking you have developed ,has quite worked well , in that it has permeated down into the mindset of not only your direct protege , a la ‘Her Majesty Queen K,’ but likewise ,one of her , ardent ,front line lieutenant, AG Rommy.
Show dem Cuz Rommy, and to hell with attacking big fishes ,as demanded by too many of us ‘clueless cyber yappers,’, when it comes to ‘level playing field justice,’ hmmmm?
Yet , there are those,who still wish ,to make me hate dis country?Trust me, de person who can do dat ,ain’t born yet!
Luv Humanity, & embrace some semblance of patriotism, as it’s the way forward.
Swift action for Ish, Steve case
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan on Monday explained via a lengthy press release why he was not going to appeal the extradition issue involving Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson. The charges, suspended by former Director of Public Prosecutions Geoffrey Henderson to facilitate extradition, have to be reinstated by present DPP Roger Gaspard.
On November 7, Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh handed down a decision in favour of an application by Messrs Galbaransingh and Ferguson to have the Piarco Airport fraud charges against them heard in the courts of Trinidad and Tobago rather than in the United States.
Justice Boodoosingh’s decision was immediately criticised by sundry persons, most of whom had not read his judgment, with even Opposition Leader Keith Rowley voicing an opinion which was interpreted to impugn the integrity of the judiciary and for which he had to apologise.
It is indeed unfortunate that Justice Boodoosingh’s judicial decision, although clearly reasoned and rooted in legal precedent, should be perceived as politically biased. Yet this was almost inevitable once the application by Messrs Galbaransingh and Ferguson was successful.
Both men are said to be major financiers of the United National Congress, and the timing of various key actions led the conspiracy theorists to believe that the legal process was being manipulated to get the two men off.
The first decision to let them be extradited was done on a weekend, which some felt allowed time for their lawyers to file a judicial review before the authorities could get them on a flight to America. Even the announcement of the alleged assassination plot was interpreted by Government critics as part of a larger plan to save Ish and Steve.
Additionally, the fact that two Americans involved in the Piarco fraud, Raul Gutierrez and Eduardo Hillman Waller, were found guilty within a few months in a Miami court, and that seven locals involved in the murder of Trinidad-born American citizen Balram ‘Balo’ Maharaj had been extradited and convicted in 2009, created the impression in the public mind that there was a sound legal basis to extradite Galbaransingh and Ferguson.
But Justice Boodoosingh’s judgment rests on other grounds. He has applied what is known in law as Cotroni factors (which are basically priorities to determine whether a trial is best done in another country), as well as examining the specific charges against Galbaransingh and Ferguson, most of which sum up to conspiracy to defraud the Government of T&T. On this last basis, the American government cannot be said to have an overriding interest in the matter. The public’s opinion that this case was better tried in the US reflects a lack of confidence in local justice. For that reason alone, the courts should ensure that this case is processed quickly and efficiently.
Advancing the ends of justice?
There are few people in this country who have followed the desperate and expensive fight by businessman Ishwar Galbaransingh and insurance executive Steve Ferguson to avoid extradition to the United States who would be surprised at the decision of the Attorney General not to appeal the judgment of High Court judge Ronnie Boodoosingh. Last month, Justice Boodoosingh declared that the extradition of the men would be “unjust, oppressive and unlawful” and that this country would be the appropriate forum for their prosecution on a combined total of 95 charges.
In justifying his decision not to appeal the Boodoosingh judgment, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said: “One does not appeal for the sake of appealing, or out of pique, but rather to advance the ends of justice…I have come to the view that the ends of justice will be served by foregoing the exercise of the undoubted right of appeal and allowing the matters currently before the local courts to be proceeded with.” There is, no doubt, much merit in the judgment delivered by Justice Boodoosingh and the Attorney General’s reliance on it. But it must be stated that using the same or similar facts, several of the High Court judge’s colleagues, two panels of local Court of Appeal judges and the Privy Council came to the conclusion that the extradition request was sound.
Given the extensive litigation in this matter—and the number of judgments that have gone against the men—the Attorney General’s statement about “not appealing for the sake of appealing, or out of pique, but rather to advance the ends of justice” can best be described as curious. It suggests that the “ends of justice” can be advanced by hearing the matters against the men in a local forum where the preliminary inquiry into the Piarco 1 case took nearly six years to be concluded and the Piarco 2 case, which began in May 2004, is still ongoing. Secondly, the timing of the Attorney General’s distribution of his decision is interesting. The decision not to appeal was communicated on Monday, the very last possible day of the 42-day grace period granted by Justice Boodoosingh. In fact, the Attorney General sent the decision to the Guardian after 4.30 pm on Monday.
While some may conclude that Mr Ramlogan was running down the clock, to use a basketball phrase, in order to avoid having to answer inconvenient questions, the Attorney General deserves the benefit of the doubt on the issue of the timing of the release of his decision. It might be useful, though, for Mr Ramlogan to clarify when he received the advice from Queen’s Counsel James Lewis and when he formed the judgment that he would not appeal the judgment. And then there is the issue of Mr Lewis’s advice. Mr Ramlogan praised him as a lawyer whose expertise in extradition matters was “recognised and respected” by those accompanying US Attorney General Eric Holder on his recent visit here.
It should be expected that someone of such acknowledged expertise would present arguments that are slightly more binary than that distributed by our Attorney General. If there is more to Mr Lewis’s advice than has as yet been made public, the Attorney General is obligated to make all of the advice public. At the end of the day, the Attorney General may be right and it may serve the ends of justice to continue with these high-profile prosecutions before local courts and local judicial officers. But given the length of time that the preliminary inquiries took, or are taking—and the fact that the US cases have come and gone with jail sentences having been served and fines paid—it may well be apposite to cite the old legal maxim: justice delayed is justice denied.
Would someone tell this guy AG Rammy, aka de COP Pit- bull, but who in actuality ,behaves more like ‘ah kid in ah candy store ,’ that he is no longer some low end ,scrunting San Fernando, fake Human Rights , ambulance chasing lawyer, or worst yet , a typical desperate, neo racial activist ,Trinidad Guardian newspaper columnist, but now hold’s one of the most important positions of trust in the government, which should not be abused/ misused?
Don’t have a clue where he learned his politics, but last time I checked, Opposition leaders, and politicians as a whole, where free to raise issues of national concerns- irrespective of how revolting it might appear to some – as they deem fit ,and were accorded some level of exemptions from prosecution, while operating in that capacity ,as servants of the people.
His head is all twisted , if he naively think ,that it’s Dr Rowley alone, who is disgusted , because he smell’s a rat in the darkened corner, near to the big fish stall.
Let’s get it , one does not appeal for the sake of appealing, but is justified in suing for the sake of suing eh Rammy? You don’t think that justice would be further served by ensuring two criminals-who so happened to be high end financiers, for unmentionable , head honchos of one major fraction of the PP regime- are extradited , to a country ,that is not only the sole remaining Super Power , but regional hegemon, main importer of 90% of all your economic products,and destination for 98% of your already disgruntled citizens , who cannot wait to escape?
Oh so dis is how it works now ,ehhh? They embarrass you by telling socialist Raul, he could not use the Hilton conference hall ,to pedal his doctors and nurses , and pre historic ideological mantras ,for the gullible , and you stick it to them ,by saying no way are we giving you our pals Ishwar Galbaransingh ,and Steve Ferguson, to fry over a fire , and so find out which still elusive political big fish hands might be dirty?
Give it a rest buddy, and quit the escapist , media posturing , fake tough guy act, as it’s not only getting a bit stale, but folks are no longer amuse- with lack of jobs,imbalanced justice, paltry security , and inequitable distribution of our natural resources.
If you wish to show the country that you guys are serious , use your influence to finally recognize the Trini based , costly CRJ , and help eliminate the last bastion of imperialism ,in the more costly ,British , anachronistic ,Privy Council.
Well, sorry , but don’t blame me for trying. You guys adore your British Euro masters.
Allegations against Cuba/Castro is zilch and we did not defend that as much as we failed to assert our sovereignty.
We are saddle with a regime bent on Religious-race preservation whereas the interest and traditions in our Nations heritages are cast aside.
Why fight with the US over two non-convicted criminals, lets face it; the PP gang have many new sources of funding. Besides they could make jail here, their crime sheets are long.
These are not the characters worthy of tail spinning our Judiciary or warrant better treatment than our erstwhile Cuban brothers.
Let slip the goons rather than make they national symbols of any sort.
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago constitution was designed to only persecute poor afro trinidadians and some poor east indians.
Observe every time there’s a change of government racial tensions run high in that twin island state.Why? These men commited very serious crimes against the country and taxpayers,only because they are indians and the government is an indian one,this have happened.
The attorney general,is most rediculous,he advised of not appealling the decision of boodoosinghr,but preparing to file suit against Rowley,this government is a joke.People forget under Panday that Kamla was involved in the scandal some years ago when she was implicated in some building in Port Of Spain some relative sold the government to utilized as a school?WOW
Justice Boodoosingh ,stated emphatically that these alledged criminals, extradition is considered unjust and oppressive,to who is my question here ? how much did he received for that ruling? and Ramlogan in whose interest? are you referring to yours and their’s?hmmmm?
This justice system in Trinidad and Tobago stinks from here to where ever?
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