UNC activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj has launched another legal attack alleging political corruption, fraud and misconduct in public office on the part of various state agencies as it relates to the Prime Minister's purchase of a townhouse in Shirvan, Tobago.
Last week, Maharaj’s attorney Vishaal Siewsaran fired off a series of letters to the Commissioner of Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief Administrator of the Tobago House of Assembly, the Board of Inland Revenue and the Commissioner of Valuations demanding answers.
In a second letter to Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher, the attorney demanded an urgent investigation.
He said, “undisputed evidence in this matter reveals a strong prima facie case of political corruption, fraud on the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) and misconduct in public office.”
Siewsaran first wrote on August 10 but said Maharaj has not been contacted or told of the status of any investigation.
He wants to know if an investigation into the Prime Minister’s purchase has been initiated; the status of any probe; or when one will begin; what steps have been taken, if any; and what is yet to be done.
In his letter to DPP Roger Gaspard, SC, the attorney provided information relating to the valuation of the townhouse and the purchase of the $1.6 million property by Dr Rowley and his wife for $1.2 million.
Gaspard was asked to use his office to “act in relation to this very serious matter.”
The request to the chairman of the BIR asked for the division’s policy and practice for the valuation of properties for the paying of stamp duties; copies of all or any reports, appraisals, or opinions relating to the townhome purchases by the Rowleys and Central Bank Governor Alvin Hilaire in the Shirvan development; correspondence, memos or minutes relating to the payment of stamp duty on the properties; and all valuation reports for the properties.
In a separate letter, Siewsaran called on the Commissioner of Valuations to refer the matter to the criminal tax investigations unit.
He also asked for information relating to the valuation of property for the payment of stamp duty; all the documents prepared by the division in relation to the purchases by the Rowleys and Hillaire; documents submitted for the payment of stamp duties for the properties; and all valuation reports.
The parties were given 30 days to provide the responses to the requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.