THERE is now some uncertainty if the corruption kickback allegations against former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen will proceed directly to the High Court.
In December, prosecutors told Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle the Director of Public Prosecutions had intentions of bypassing the preliminary inquiry in the lower courts and have the case proceed directly to the High Court to the indictment.
However, on Friday, the chief magistrate was told discussions were being held between the DPP and Senior Counsel Pamela Elder who leads the team for Ramlogan.
Deputy DPP George Busby explained that Elder was of the view the case did not qualify to be sent directly to indictment while DPP Roger Gaspard SC, was minded to send the matter straight to the High Court.
He said they needed time to “sort that out” and asked for an adjournment to November 30, to allow discussions on the issue to continue.
Earle-Caddle agreed and, in adjourning the matter, allowed bail to continue for both Ramlogan and Ramdeen.
Ramdeen’s attorney, Wayne Sturge, asked for a longer adjourned date to January or February, next year, but was outnumbered two-to-one as Elder’s junior, Russell Warner, also agreed to the November 30 date.
Busby also asked that the witness tampering case, in which Ramlogan alone is charged, also be adjourned to the same date.
He said the DPP also wanted both matters to be kept together and by the end of November, he will provide a report to the court on the discussions with Elder.
She has the same position in the witness-tampering matter.
Both men appeared virtually before the chief magistrate on allegations of conspiring with Jamaican-born Queen’s Counsel Vincent Nelson for Ramlogan to misbehave in public office as AG, by accepting money from Nelson as a reward for giving him state briefs.
It is further alleged that they conspired for Ramdeen to receive, conceal, and transfer criminal property which represented corrupt rewards given to Ramlogan by Nelson for the state briefs.
The third allegation against the two is that they conspired for Nelson to give ten per cent of the paid legal fees to Ramlogan as a “gift” or “reward” for being granted state briefs.
They were charged in May 2019.
In February, Busby had told the court indictments had not yet been filed by the director.
So far, at least 21 sworn statements have been filed. One of Nelson’s attorneys, Roger Kawalsingh, has written to the DPP indicating his client was “unequivocally ready, willing and able to give evidence against Ramlogan and Ramdeen.”
Gaspard confirmed receiving the letter and said on Wednesday, it had not yet been disclosed to the defence.
In March 2020, Nelson, who pleaded guilty in June 2019 to his part in the alleged kickback scheme, was ordered to pay $2.25 million restitution as part of a plea bargain arrangement struck between him and the State. As part of the plea deal, he agreed to turn state witness and testify against Ramlogan and Ramdeen.
In the witness-tampering case, Ramlogan is accused of misbehaviour in public office and obstruction of justice. He was charged in 2017.
The charge against him surrounds an allegation by Police Complaints Authority director David West that Ramlogan approached him to withdraw his witness statement in a defamation case against then opposition leader Dr Rowley in 2014.
At a previous hearing, Ramlogan’s attorneys said they intended to question West, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.
Griffith, who was then minister of national security, and Ramlogan who was AG, were fired from the Cabinet in 2015 after police started an investigation.