For more than 12 hours yesterday, senior police investigators grilled former attorney general Anand Ramlogan in a witness tampering case which stems from a defamation lawsuit he filed in 2015 against Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who, at the time, was the opposition leader.
In response, Ramlogan, 47, submitted a 40-page statement which the police were reviewing before consulting Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard on the filing of charges against the senior counsel.
Ramlogan is accused of attempting to pervert the course of public justice by allegedly asking Police Complaints Authority director David West to withdraw as Rowley’s witness in exchange for his appointment as head of the agency.
Ramlogan, who served under the People’s Partnership administration, had sued Rowley over claims he made about him regarding the controversial Section 34 clause of the Administration of Justice Act and the extradition proceedings of businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson.
Attorney Gerald Ramdeen, who is also a UNC senator, confirmed Ramlogan gave a statement to police.
“He has just given a statement and they are going over it now,” Ramdeen told Newsday at about 7.55 pm.
Ramdeen could not say how much longer Ramlogan would be detained or if he would have been released.
“I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful at this stage,” he said.
Sources said investigators posed 180 questions to Ramlogan, under the supervision of acting Deputy Police Commissioner Harold Phillip.
The day’s long interrogation was briefly interrupted at around 4 pm when investigators left the Police Administration Building on Sackville Street and went across to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Winsure Building, on Richmond Street, Port of Spain and met DPP Gaspard.
On his advice, they returned to police headquarters and resumed the interrogation but up to 8 pm, no charges had been laid.
Over the period, Ramlogan received lunch and dinner and was allowed to speak occasionally to his wife, Nalini, and children, Aniel and Schweta.
Earlier, in an i95.5fm radio interview, Pamela Elder SC, who is also Ramlogan’s attorney, said he was “coping quite well in the circumstances”.
“He’s being interviewed by the police officers, it’s rather unfortunate that they had to take that procedure because he had always indicated to me his willingness to subject himself to an interview wherever and whenever the police officers required, but notwithstanding that the police officers are very courteous and they are carrying out the interview in a very professional manner. My client has not been charged,” she told the station.
Newsday sources said Elder recently wrote Phillip saying Ramlogan was willing to be interviewed at anytime.
Ramlogan was detained after 10 police officers executed a search warrant, at about 6 am, at his home in Palmiste Villas, an upscale residential community in Palmiste, on the outskirts of San Fernando.
His wife and children sat alongside him as their home was searched for documents but investigators found none. The search lasted a mere 20 minutes. Ramlogan was allowed to contact Elder and Ramdeen, after which his cellphone was seized.
Ramdeen, who also lives in Palmiste Villas, went over to Ramlogan’s home and spoke with him before he was escorted in an unmarked police vehicle to police headquarters, arriving by 7.30 am. Ramlogan was met by Phillip and his team who informed he was a suspect in an investigation and was asked to co-operate.
Sources said at that time Ramlogan replied he had nothing to say until he was advised by his attorneys.
Almost an hour later, Ramdeen and several attorneys, among them Dinesh Rambally, Jagdeo Singh and Criston J Williams, arrived and asked to meet with Ramlogan but only Ramdeen and one attorney were allowed to do so.
They were later met by Elder at about 11.50 am.
Singh speculated whether Ramlogan’s detention had to do with an injunction which he, and the group of lawyers who tried to see him, successfully obtained against the acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams halting a promotion exercise.
“I don’t know if this is in retaliation of the injunction we obtained against the Commissioner of Police this morning (yesterday) preventing him from doing a round of promotion. But this is the same team of lawyers that obtained the injunction, so we don’t know whether if this is a retaliation. We did not get to see him. I don’t know the facts. I am here as a colleague,” said Singh.
In 2015, the witness-tampering allegation led to Ramlogan’s resignation as attorney general, and prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s firing of Gary Griffith as national security minister.
Several former PP ministers have already been questioned by police including Griffith, Suruj Rambachan and Roodal Moonilal. Former Express journalist Anika Gumbs, who broke the witness-tampering story, has also been interviewed by police.
(with reporting by Marlene Augustine, Clint Chan Tack, Sean Douglas)