By Clint Chan Tack, www.newsday.co.tt
PETER CATEAU, former client representative for the Ministry of Works and Transport in the Piarco Airport Development Project, is expected to surrender today at 10 am to officers of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). Cateau has been charged with abuse of public office. It is alleged that between January 1, 1995 and December 1, 2001, Cateau conspired to obtain contracts and payments or settlements therein for a total face value of up to $1.6 billion.
Justice of the Peace (JP) Ackbar Khan told Newsday that Cateau, who has been working on a World Bank assignment in the region, returned to Trinidad on Saturday after learning that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. Cateau contacted Khan on Tuesday and indicated his willingness to surrender to the police. The JP said he subsequently communicated Cateau's intention to surrender to head of the ACB, Snr Supt Maurice Piggott. Today, Cateau will surrender first to Khan, who will escort him to the ACB's headquarters on Richmond Street in Port-of-Spain. He will then appear in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court to answer the charges against him.
Cateau featured prominently in the Commission of Inquiry into the Piarco Project which began its sittings at the Caribbean Court of Justice building on Richmond Street, Port-of-Spain on August 23, 2002 and ended on July 1, 2003. The Inquiry was the longest and most expensive in the nation's history, lasting 170 days and costing taxpayers $15 million. Cateau was one of the more prominent witnesses during the Inquiry, being questioned at length on successive days by the Commission's attorneys and attorneys representing other persons and companies who were summoned to appear before the Commission.
The Commission's report was submitted to President George Maxwell Richards on August 31, 2003, but Government decided not to publicise its contents because of implications it could have for any future criminal prosecutions. Assistance was sought from authorities in the United States and the United Kingdom to investigate alleged corruption in the Piarco Project. Charges have been laid against other persons and companies connected to the project. Meanwhile, sources yesterday disclosed that investigations into alleged corruption in the National Road Enhancement Programme (NREP) are being vigorously pursued and arrests are imminent.
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