THE OPPOSITION UNC is again calling on Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to resign.
Now, the party says he “must go” because of the “tangled web” he has woven around the sale of his Porsche Cayenne SUV to now-former Police Service Commission (PSC) member Roger Kawalsingh.
Al-Rawi has denied any wrongdoing, telling Newsday on Wednesday he has all the documents relating to the sale and transfer of the vehicle.
He also provided the cheque for the sale, a letter of authorisation for the transfer, and the sale invoice.
He said he did everything by the book, including reporting the sale to the Integrity Commission.
He told Newsday on Wednesday, he was not responsible for the record-keeping at the Licensing Division, so could not say why the vehicle was still registered to him when Kawalsingh said he received a chit from the division when he put in the transfer documents.
He said the sale of the car came up in the public domain when Ramlogan was charged and again featured in the 2020 general election, dismissing the discussion about the sale of the vehicle as being nothing more than politics.
But in a release on Thursday, the UNC said Al-Rawi’s statements raised more questions.
The UNC asked how come the AG was “unaware and unconcerned” that the certificate of ownership was not in Kawalsingh’s name since 2016, when the sale took place. The Opposition also asked how Kawalsingh could keep his vehicle inspected and insured with just a transfer slip and not a certificate of ownership (certified copy.)
Kawalsingh told another media house on Tuesday he could not account for its registration, since he had paid for the SUV, and the insurance and service records were in his name. He said he never got a certificate of ownership, but had to produce the transfer slip to get insurance.
The UNC also asked, “Is the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago unaware of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, section (6) which states:
"Where a registration of transfer referred to in subsection (5) has not been made within fourteen days after the change of possession of that vehicle, the registered owner is guilty of an offence and is liable upon summary conviction to a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for six months’?
“Is Faris guilty of this offence?”
Al-Rawi insists he did his part.
Kawalsingh told Newsday on Thursday he also did what was required.
“Without answering anyone individually, I have done all that was required to effect a transfer. For my part, I don’t understand why the transfer was not effected.
“I have no further comments.”
The UNC’s statement questioned the relationship between the two and asked why Kawalsingh received payment for work done for the State when other attorneys are yet to be paid.
It also questioned the relationship between former police commissioner Gary Griffith and Kawalsingh, as the latter copied an e-mail sent to the PSC chairman, Bliss Seepersad, to the former.
The questions asked by the UNC were the same asked by social activist Ravi Balgobin-Maharaj on Wednesday, when he responded to statements Al-Rawi and Kawalsingh made in response to a freedom of information request he sent.
Al-Rawi has dismissed the statements as a “rant” containing allegations based on conjecture and speculation "which are all false."
He said the rants were actually those of Balgobin-Maharaj’s attorney, Anand Ramlogan, SC, whom he considered to be in "a difficult position.
"I must remind that Anand Ramlogan is on criminal charges in two matters in which I am a witness," referring to a legal-fees kickback conspiracy matter and a witness-tampering case before the courts.
The AG said he found it "entirely coincidental that Anand Ramlogan seeks to attack me and others who are witnesses in matters for which he is charged."
Al-Rawi said he wanted to say publicly he "was not a seer-man," to know in 2016, when he sold the Porsche to Kawalsingh, the latter would be appointed to the PSC.
"It is ludicrous and a get-out-of-jail defence by Anand Ramlogan and his proxies.
The alleged kickback conspiracy matter comes up for hearing on Friday.
Griffith, who is a key witness in the witness-tampering matter, said on social media on Wednesday the “petty accusations, reeking of desperation” were not surprising.