CORRUPTION INQUESTS: NWRHA accountant in witness box; and, NCL Constitutional Motion:
Lindquist and Marschdorf did not search NCL
By Charleen Thomas Newsday
Canadian Forensic Accountants, Robert Lindquist and Hans Marschdorf did not participate in the search and seizure of documents at the offices of Northern Construction Limited (NCL) on January 25.
The categorical denial was made by head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Supt Maurice Piggott yesterday, the third day of the hearing into the constitutional motion filed by NCL against the Attorney General challenging investigations into the Piarco airport probe.
The motion is being heard by Justice Peter Jamadar in the Port-of-Spain First Civil Court.
NCL is specifically challenging the constitutionality of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2000, the active participation of Lindquist and Marschdorf in the search and the validity of the search warrants.
When the hearing resumed yesterday, during the continuation of cross examination of Piggott by NCL's lead attorney, Allan Alexander, SC, Piggott explained that the two accountants only assisted him in identifying the relevant documents to be seized.
Piggott said in his wish not to be disruptive to NCL's business he and his team ensured that during their search they did not remove any material that was not pertinent to their investigations.
He said he, "in part", removed the documents he thought to be relevant, based on his limited accounting knowledge and on information he had. He said he intended to take the documents he thought relevant.
Piggott said Lindquist and Marschdorf assisted in identifying relevant documents, in that when he removed the documents from the filing cabinets, he invited the men to look at the file, they gave opinions and he set the files aside, either to be removed or put back into the cabinet.
Piggott denied that it was Lindquist and Marschdorf who carried out the search in Paul Doona's office, and that he the other police officers from time to time, left the office.
Piggott however agreed that sometime during the morning of January 25, the search was completed and he left Doona's office and went to the office of Amrith Maharaj.
He said at that office Lindquist made a request for several documents in the presence of NCL's attorney, Sophia Chote. He said there was a conversation and he suspended the search in "fulfillment of an agreement".
He agreed with Alexander that the search was suspended in respect to the warrant to search Doona's office, but later said he didn't agree that the search was completed.
Under further cross examination, Piggott admitted that the documents which were requested by Lindquist were not found in Doona's office. When asked where he expected to find the documents, he replied, "somewhere on the premises of NCL".
Piggott further admitted that prior to applying for the warrant to search Doona's office, he knew that the office was on the premises of NCL.
Piggott said he couldn't recall if Lindquist read from a prepared document the list of documents which he (Lindquist) requested, nor could he recall if he (Piggott) had prepared such a list for Lindquist on January 25. Piggott said it would have been difficult to say if he (Piggott) had prepared such a list before that day.
He denied advising Lindquist about which documents to request but admitted sending a four page fax to Chote on January 28, requesting several documents relating to the airport probe. He denied making an agreement with Chote during the conversation in Maharaj's office for her to provide him with a status report on January 30. Piggott said the report was to have been sent on January 28.
Commissioner of Police, Hilton Guy, who was requested to give evidence was only cross examined by attorney for NCL Fyard Hosein on the issuance of identification cards for Lindquist and Marschdorf.
Guy's evidence lasted less than two minutes. He said as a consequence of the investigations he instructed Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Oswin Allard, to sign the ID cards for the men. However Guy said he had no record of when the ID cards were issued.
The matter continues on Monday when closing submissions will be begin.
Appearing for the State are attorneys Stanley Marcus, SC, Dr Lloyd Barnett, John Jeremy and Michael Quamina instructed by Jonathon Walker.
NCL's attorneys are Alexander, Reginald Armour, Hosein and Devish Maharaj instructed by Mark Barrow.
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