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Frankie still smiling *LINK*

Former minister on 6 corruption charges
Frankie still smiling

By FRANCIS JOSEPH, www.newsday.co.tt

FOR 20 minutes, Franklin Khan remained in the prisonerís cage and dock without his trademark smile. Dressed in a navy blue suit, Khan was expressionless when he was brought in court by two Fraud Squad detectives to answer six charges of misconduct in public office.

No sooner had he secured $250,000 bail, Khan walked out of the Port-of-Spain Magistratesí Court with his familiar broad smile on his face.

Khan, the Member of Parliament for Ortoire/ Mayaro, was appointed Minister of Works and Transport after the PNMís 20-16 victory at the 2002 polls. Following allegations made by PNM Councillor Dansam Dhansook earlier this year, Khan resigned as minister, but remained as chairman of the ruling PNM "until the allegations were cleared up."

Prime Minister Patrick Manning passed the allegations to the Integrity Commission for investigation. The file was then passed to the Fraud Squad which conducted months of investigations.

On Monday, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Geoffrey Henderson gave instructions for six charges to be laid against Khan.

On Tuesday, the investigator, Supt Glenroy Woodley, obtained a warrant for the arrest of the former minister from Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls at the Port-of-Spain Magistratesí Court. Before the police could have gone to Khanís home at 15 Fairview Drive, Moka, Maraval, they received word that he was willing to surrender yesterday morning at the Fraud Squad offices. The Member of Parliament walked into the Fraud Squad at 9.10 am and surrendered to Woodley. After he was processed, Khan was taken to the Port-of-Spain Magistratesí Court in an unmarked car by Woodley, Insp Leonard Charles, and Sgt Nyron Dookeran. But Khan was not brought in front of the court on St Vincent Street. The police car went into the basement of the courthouse unnoticed.

Khan was escorted into the court building to be processed. When he was brought into the Fourth Court at 11 am, the trademark smile of the former minister was missing. He was placed on a bench in the prisonerís cage. and sat there just staring at the surroundings.

The only persons in the court were media personnel, police officers, lawyers, court staff and his bailor. At 11.07 am, Magistrate Lianne Lee Kim walked into the court. Gilbert Petersen SC announced that he was representing Khan along with Hayden St Clair Douglas and Kerwyn Garcia. There was no State attorney present.

The magistrate then read the charges to Khan who stood motionless and expressionless in the prisonerís dock.

When she was completed, the magistrate pointed out that the charges had been laid indictably, so the accused could not plead. Petersen pointed out that bail had been set by the Clerk of the Peace the day before in the sum of $250,000 to cover all of the charges. Police prosecutor Sgt Kathlene Prospect told the court that the prosecution was not objecting to bail.

Lee Kim then brought laughter to the court when she asked, "Was the accused traced?í Khan was not smiling, however. He stood still. Petersen said his client had no previous convictions. The magistrate then remanded Khan on $250,000 bail to reappear in court at the San Fernando Magistratesí Court on December 8. Khan secured bail one hour later and left the courthouse with his trademark smile before a number of media photographers.

Colm Imbert, who took over the Ministry of Works after Khan had resigned, yesterday said he was saddened by the development, but he was not in possession of the facts, and could not comment.

Imbertís Cabinet colleague, Minister of Health John Rahael, said that he was also sorry about the development, but emphasised "the law must take its course." Rahael said it shows that the PNM is not afraid to deal with any illegal activity that takes place, and if there is truth in what the charges are, the law must take its course.

THE CHARGES

Franklin Khan, of 15 Fairview

Drive, Moka, Maraval:

1) That on June 13, 2003, at La Romaine, being a Member of Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, a public office, did misconduct himself in the said office by corruptly accepting from Dansam Dhansook, $20,000, the proceeds of Scotia bank, Rio Claro branch cheque number 000918 dated June 11, 2003, payable to Franklin Khan, and drawn on the account of TT Geoseis Services Co Ltd as a reward for having secured for Dhansook a contract to supply labour, security, and transport to Terra Seis Trinidad Ltd, a company engaged in seismic surveys in Trinidad and Tobago, contrary to common law.

2) That on January 30, 2003, at San Fernando, being a Member of Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, a public officer, did misconduct himself in the said office by corruptly accepting from Dansam Dhansook $19,500, the proceeds of Scotiabank branch cheque number 000325, dated January 30, 2003, payable to Franklin Khan and drawn on the account of TT Geoseis Services Ltd, as a reward for having secured for Dhansook a contract to supply labour, security and transport to Terra Seis Trinidad Ltd, a company engaged in seismic surveys in Trinidad and Tobago, contrary to common law.

3) That on March 7, 2003, at San Fernando, being a Member of Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, a public office, did misconduct himself in the said office by corruptly accepting from Dansam Dhansook $20,000, the proceeds of cheque number 000471 dated March 3, 2003, payable to Franklin Khan and drawn at the Scotiabank Rio Claro branch on the account of TT Geoseis Services Ltd as a reward for having secured for Dhansook a contract to supply labour, security and transport to Terra Seis Trinidad Ltd, a company engaged in seismic surveys in Trinidad and Tobago, contrary to common law.

4) That on May 5, 2003, at La Romaine, being a Member of Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, a public office, did misconduct himself in the said office by corruptly accepting from Dansam Dhansook $21,000 the proceeds of Scotiabank, Rio Claro branch cheque number 000723 dated May 1, 2003, payable to Franklin Khan and drawn on the account of TT Geoseis Services Co Ltd, as a reward for having secured for the said Dhansook a contract to supply labour, security, and transport to Terra Seis Trinidad Ltd, a company engaged in seismic surveys in Trinidad and Tobago, contrary to common law.

5) That on April 1, 2003, at La Romaine, being a Member of Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, a public office, did misconduct himself in the said office by corruptly accepting from Dansam Dansook $20,000 by Scotiabank, Rio Claro branch cheque number 000540 dated April 1, 2003, payable to Franklin Khan and drawn on the account of TT Geoseis Services Co Ltd, as a reward for having secured for the said Dhansook a contract to supply labour, security, and transport to Terra Seis Trinidad Ltd, a company engaged in seismic surveys in Trinidad and Tobago, contrary to common law.

6) That on July 6, 2003, at La Romaine, being a Member of Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, a public office, did misconduct himself in the said office by corruptly accepting from Dansam Dhansook $20,000 by Scotiabank, Rio Claro branch cheque number 000994 dated July 2, 2003, to Franklin Khan and drawn on the account of TT Geoseis Services Co Ltd, as a reward for having secured for the said Dhansook a contract to supply labour, security and transport to Terra Seis Trinidad Ltd, a company engaged in seismic surveys in Trinidad and Tobago, contrary to common law.

http://www.newsday.co.tt/stories.php?article_id=30995

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