Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Ingrid Seerattan did not spend much time in the witness box at the Piarco II preliminary inquiry yesterday, after y the prosecution objected to the procedure used to bring her to court.
Seerattan was summoned by former Works and Transport Minister Sadiq Baksh to produce certain documents of which she was custodian in the ministry. Baksh, who started his defence in the inquiry after presiding magistrate Ejenny Espinet ruled that he and his co-accused had a case to answer, sought the documents as part of his defence.
When she came to testify, Seerattan provided 11 documents, but before they could be tendered into evidence, on Baksh’s request, lead prosecutor Gilbert Peterson, SC, objected. He contended that the summons issued by a Justice of the Peace sought to circumscribe the court’s jurisdiction, as it told the witness she would not be cross-examined.
After being put out of court while submissions continued in her absence, Seerattan was advised of the procedure relating to her giving evidence by Espinet and told she would have to return to court next Wednesday.
Before the magistrates’ court are Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh, along with former UNC ministers Brian Kuei Tung and Sadiq Baksh, former Airports Authority chairmen Tyrone Gopee and Ameer Edoo and Galbaransingh’s former employee Amrith Maharaj. Galbaransingh and Ferguson’s companies Northern Construction Ltd and Maritime General Insurance are also parties in the inquiry.