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$100 million stolen from Piarco

Arrests imminent

By Nalinee Seelal Newsday

Police officers investigating the Piarco Airport expenditure have discovered that over 100 million dollars were stolen, largely through overpricing of material and the irregular bidding process in the award of contract prices.

Officers of the Anti-Corruption Squad have also discovered that material used for the construction of the airport was of an inferior quality.

Yesterday, Newsday was informed that the first phase of the investigation has been completed and more than one person is likely to be arrested and charged this week in connection with the theft of public funds.

Sources revealed yesterday that four top officials have already been interviewed by the Anti-Corruption Squad, as part of the probe into the airport expenditure.

The investigation is being spearheaded by Supt Maurice Piggott who is being assisted by a team of specially selected police officers, and Canadian Forensic accountant Bob Linquist and Hans Marschdorf.

Marschdorf returned to the country yesterday after a short absence.
Newsday learned that over the weekend, Supt Piggott and Linquist as well as officers of the Anti-Corruption Squad spent several hours in office looking over documents in preparation for police action expected shortly.

Sources denied claims by former National Security Minister Russel Huggins that the police have examined his bank account records.

Huggins is the legal adviser of the Maritime Group.
The source revealed that Huggins was asked specifically about a cheque paid to him.

The police are also expected to interview Huggins shortly. They have already quizzed former Finance Minister Brian Kuei Tung.

Sources added that while they have asked former Attorney General Keith Sobion for a statement relating to the airport probe he is not under any investigation.

The Lindquist Report has already revealed that the airport project was a fraud on the people of Trinidad and Tobago and a clear abuse of public funds. The report also revealed that its findings were consistent with a conspiracy to corrupt the contract selection process beginning in 1996 and carried out throughout the contracting process.

Earlier this month Northern Construction Limited (NCL) filed a constitutional motion seeking to stop the police probe.

The motion is seeking the return of all documents and computer records seized as well as a gag order on the contents of the Linquist Report.

The documents were seized on January 25 and January 30, during raids carried out by officers of the Anti-Corruption Squad.

During the raids Bob Lindquist and his assistant Hans Marschdorf seized documents from NCL's Point Lisas office. The search was carried out based on a warrant issued by Justice Stanley John under the Proceeds of the Crime Act 2000.

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$100 million stolen from Piarco
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