Former AG scoffs at lawsuit seeking $m - 'Naked abuse of power'

Former AG Anand Ramlogan -
Former AG Anand Ramlogan -

A naked and ridiculous abuse of power.

This was the immediate reaction by former attorney general Anand Ramlogan, SC, to a civil claim filed against him and former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen in the aftermath of the collapse of the criminal prosecution against them last year.

On Thursday, the State filed a claim against the two former politicians which seeks reimbursement of sums allegedly received in a legal-fees kickback conspiracy involving convicted British King’s Counsel Vincent Nelson and unquantified damages.

On Saturday, Ramlogan told Sunday Newsday, “This is a naked and ridiculous abuse of power. It is a bogus case designed to bypass the Director of Public Prosecutions and re-litigate the collapsed criminal case.

“It is a desperate political manoeuvre that is destined to fail. The government has painted itself into an awkward corner because Vincent Nelson has sued for over $100 m to cash in on the secret indemnity agreement.

“The real conspiracy concerns the multi-million-dollar payments made under that agreement along with the promise of a pardon by (former attorney general) Faris Al-Rawi and his friends.

“Sadly, it is the public that will have to foot the bill for this malicious persecution. I look forward to my day in court because I know no weapon formed against me shall prosper.”

In his response, Ramdeen said, “I want to wish Ms Tenille Ramkisson and the honourable Attorney General Mr (Reginald) Armour, a very Merry Christmas. I want to thank them for suing me in this matter.

“I make a pledge today that the proceeds that I am awarded in this matter will be given to charity and I look forward to a speedy determination.”

The claim, filed on Thursday, by Ramkissoon, head of the Attorney General’s Secretariat, alleged the “kickback payments” amounted to £200,367. It names the two, Nelson and another person as the alleged conspirators. It also alleges breach of fiduciary duty, bribery and breach of trust against the two.

Former UNC senator Gerald Ramdeen. -

Sunday Newsday understands the case has already been assigned to Justice Jacqueline Wilson who is also presiding over Nelson’s civil claim. Nelson’s civil claim goes to trial in late January.

Ramlogan and Ramdeen were charged in 2019 with conspiring with Nelson for Ramlogan to misbehave in public office as AG by accepting money from Nelson as a reward for giving him state briefs. The case against them was discontinued on October 10, 2022, by Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard because of Nelson's unwillingness to testify.

The civil claim said because of his alleged breaches of fiduciary duties, Ramlogan is liable to forfeit all, or part, of the sums earned by him from November 5, 2011, including his salary. It also said Ramdeen was liable to forfeit all or part of the sums earned by him from the same period.

The claim disclosed Nelson’s statement he gave on October 26, 2017, before he pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering, misbehaviour in public office and conspiracy to commit an act of corruption relating to a legal fee kickback conspiracy.

In it, there were notations of bank transfers between accounts in TT, a Natwest Bank in the UK and a Jamaican bank. He alleged he agreed to pay 10 per cent of the gross fees he received from any work done for the Government of TT.

Nelson was indicted in May 2019 and entered a plea deal with the Office of the DPP which included an agreement that he would testify against Ramlogan and Ramdeen. He was convicted on June 4, 2019, sentenced on March 2, 2020, and ordered to pay $2.25 million in fines.

On October 31, Nelson filed a notice of appeal to set aside his conviction and sentence. His appeal is premised on events leading up to the plea deal with the DPP. These events, the appeal alleged, were an abuse of power and a breach of a promise not to prosecute.

Much of what is contained in the appeal application is also the basis behind his civil case against the State for over $96 million for loss of earnings after being expelled from a prestigious UK firm; loss of insurance benefits; the $2.5 million fine he was ordered to pay when he pleaded guilty; and additional sums if the UK authorities make demands on him for alleged unpaid taxes.

The claim against Ramlogan and Ramdeen also repeats much of what Nelson also gave in his statements when he pleaded guilty and the notarised statement he gave to Al-Rawi on November 16, 2017, in which he set out the alleged conspiracy.

Al-Rawi, however, has denied liability under the indemnity agreement. His denial is contained in the counterclaim filed by the State against Nelson.

The counterclaim, filed along with a re-amended defence on November 7, 2022, alleged Nelson received the money as a result of “unlawful and unjust enrichment,” at the expense of the people of TT.

In its counterclaim, the State contends any income Nelson earned since his corrupt agreement to pay kickbacks to Ramlogan or could have earned since then, would be premised on his continued dishonest and corrupt failure to disclose that he had “corruptly agreed to pay the said kickback to Ramlogan.”

The claim against Ramlogan and Ramdeen contends the “conspirators and each of them knew of the facts which gave rise to the relevant unlawfulness” in particular through the discussion which took place at the Office of the Attorney General in 2011, but also through the actual payment and receipt of the monies between 2011 and 2014.

It also maintains the State is entitled to all documents and information on the retention of attorneys while Ramlogan was attorney general and any accounts to determine the full extent of any “unauthorised gains.”

“The claimant is entitled to any accounts or inquiries necessary to determine the amount of and location of any such traceable process.”

It also said as AG, Ramlogan would have had oversight and control over the legal affairs of some statutory corporations and would have retained attorneys to provide legal services as well as approved their remuneration from public funds.

It said as AG, he was required to act honestly and in good faith, with loyalty and fidelity towards the Republic of TT; “strictly avoid the taking of bribes, secret commissions and kickbacks from money paid to attorneys from public funds, or otherwise profit from his position."


"Former AG scoffs at lawsuit seeking $m – ‘Naked abuse of power’"

More in this section