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Re: Basdeo Panday's file sent to D.P.P

By Richard Lord

THE Integrity Commission has completed its investigation into an alleged $10 million London bank account in the name of UNC leader Basdeo Panday and his wife, Oma, and sent a report to Director Public Prosecutions Geoffrey Henderson on Thursday.

Henderson, in confirming receipt of the report, said yesterday a team of “senior lawyers” within his office has begun further investigations to determine what action, if any, should be taken against Panday.

Henderson said: “It will take some time to arrive at the proper conclusion on the laws that may be applied to determine what and if any action will be taken.”

The Integrity Commission usually does one of two things after it completes an investigation—close the file or forward a report to the DPP.

Panday said yesterday he had information that he would be arrested next week.

He said this while making a “personal statement” following a two-hour UNC retreat at De Freitas Ranch in Valencia.

“It has come to my notice that yesterday Mr Manning held a very secret and private press conference at which he said that next week I shall be arrested.”

Panday said based on what was allegedly said at that “secret meeting” between Manning and the journalists “there is an inevitable conclusion that Mr Manning is working in collusion with the Director of Public Prosecutions because only he can determine that”.

One of the four journalists who were at Manning’s official residence on Thursday night said they had been there for drinks and “off the record discussions” with the Prime Minister.

The journalists who attended the meeting were BBC Caribbean Service freelancer Tony Fraser, Newsday’s Ria Taitt, Sasha Mohammed of The Wire, and Rosemarie Sant of TV6, sister company of the Express.

The Express had not been invited.

Manning had asked the journalists to switch off all recorders and had requested too that there should be no note-taking.

TV6 reported last night that all four reporters had denied that Manning had said anything about Panday being arrested.

But Panday said he was prepared for jail.

“I am prepared to face anything. After being in the political trenches for 36 years, you are not afraid of anything.”

He said it wouldn’t be the first time the PNM “had sought to win elections by oppression”, but added that he would be “victorious” in the end.

Panday said he was confident “the people will protect me, and if I’m not, then I ought not to be protected anyway”.

Panday said his supporters “are rational and reasonable people and they know what they have to do. My instructions are: Do not engage in violence. If I am in jail don’t take me out, just do what you have to do.”

He again denied that he had a $10 million account in London.

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