Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday declared, “This government is prepared to investigate itself.” Al-Rawi made this declaration as he rejected allegations from Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal about money laundering in the fake oil scandal at Petrotrin. Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, Al-Rawi said the People’s National Movement has demonstrated that it will deal with all allegations.
Observing that Moonilal has been very circumspect in his language since making his allegations in the House of Representatives last Friday, Al-Rawi said, “The Prime Minister has spoken definitively on the fact that Dr Moonilal’s allegations are nothing but complete unadulterated lies.” Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has denied claims from Moonilal that he and his wife Sharon have any involvement in the fake oil scandal.
Al-Rawi said Rowley’s attorneys are looking at this matter. “The Prime Minister is no stranger to taking action against people and winning,” he said.
On Moonilal’s claim that he did not breach parliamentary privilege because he withdrew his statement in the House, Al-Rawi said, “Privilege cannot be confused with the kind of abuse of privilege that Dr Moonilal sought to perpetuate against a sitting member of the Parliament.”
He said Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar cannot take credit for the ongoing investigation into the fake oil scandal. That decision, he said, was taken by Petrotrin’s board of directors appointed by the Government. “Petrotrin stands apart from the Government.”
Al-Rawi said Persad-Bissessar has a track record of revealing premature reports which subsequently result in investigations being prejudiced. He cited the Finance Ministry’s central audit committee into the Life Sport scandal as an example.
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young said accounts at the East Port of Spain Development Company were recently frozen when the Government was informed about fraudulent activities taking place there. Young said civil action has been taken and the matter is also being investigated by the police. “We do not hesitate to deal with it” Young declared.