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US wants Ish, Ferguson

By Curtis Williams

The United States government has decided to extradite Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson on charges of corruption arising out of the Piarco Airport development project.

This was confirmed yesterday by the assistant United States Attorney Richard Gregorie, who said moves were afoot to put the men before a US court.

Ferguson and Galbaransingh are charged before the United States Southern District of Florida court with enriching themselves by overpricing contracts for the project.

The indictment reads: “The purpose of the conspiracy was to defraud the Government of Trinidad and Tobago by manipulating the bid process for certain Piarco International Airport construction packages, so that the defendants and their related companies would unjustly enrich themselves through the receipt of proceeds from excessively inflated contracts and to transfer those proceeds in interstate and foreign commerce, in order to conceal and disguise the nature and location of those proceeds.”

Speaking with the Guardian from his Miami office yesterday, Gregorie said it was their intent to have the two men taken to Florida to answer the charges.

“I will not speak on the specific charges, because they are before the court,” Gregorie said.

“But what I will say is that having filed the superseding charges last week, we will now be moving to have the two Trinidadians extradited to the United States to face the charges.”

Gregorie said he was not in a position to say exactly when the request for extradition will be made, but he assured that it will not be long in coming.

“Extraditing Mr Galbaransingh and Mr Ferguson will involve the State Department and so there are diplomatic matters involved; but we are preparing the necessary papers, so that we can seek to extradite the Trinidadians.”

It is alleged that both men used political influence to enrich themselves and business partners.

The US government has alleged that in construction packages 13 and nine, Calmaquip and Northern Construction overpriced the work by more than $150 million and is seeking judgment in the amount of $201 million.

Attorney General John Jeremy yesterday confirmed that the United States government has already asked for assistance in locating the two businessmen.

He refused to divulge any more information, but said the requests are being dealt with in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Act.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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