Friday, December 13, 2019

T&T Minister, Husband Held For Misuse Of State Funds

Trinidad Guardian:- The res­ur­rec­tion of a six-year-old in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the al­leged si­phon­ing of over $1 mil­lion from a gov­ern­ment min­istry to three or­gan­i­sa­tions linked to fam­i­ly and friends cul­mi­nat­ed in the ar­rest of Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion Min­is­ter Mar­lene Mc­Don­ald and her hus­band yesterday.

Of­fi­cers of the Fraud Squad swooped down on Mc­Don­ald’s home at Val­ley View, Mara­cas, St Joseph, where they ex­e­cut­ed a search war­rant and took away sev­er­al items.

The chain of dra­mat­ic events trig­gered sev­er­al re­ac­tions as to what this meant for the rul­ing PNM and the up­com­ing elec­tions. In 2015 and 2018 Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley had de­fend­ed his de­ci­sion to bring Mc­Don­ald, a key plat­form cam­paign­er, back in­to his Cab­i­net even though the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was un­re­solved.

But the sit­u­a­tion is like­ly to change if the po­lice charge Mc­Don­ald with crim­i­nal of­fences, in­clud­ing mis­be­hav­iour in pub­lic of­fice. Row­ley told Guardian Me­dia yes­ter­day that he was await­ing the out­come of the po­lice probe.

Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that a hand-picked team of of­fi­cers un­der Snr Supt To­taram Dookhie had been qui­et­ly gath­er­ing cor­rob­o­rat­ing ev­i­dence and had been li­ais­ing with the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions through­out the high-pro­file in­quiry.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were ex­pect­ed to ask Mc­Don­ald and her hus­band, Michael Carew, point­ed ques­tions re­lat­ing to the re­quest, ap­proval and dis­tri­b­u­tion of state funds through three NGOs— the Cal­abar Foun­da­tion, Wa­ter­wheel Foun­da­tion and a third en­ti­ty—which were al­leged­ly mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ed.

A terse state­ment from the Po­lice Ser­vice con­firmed pub­lished me­dia re­ports that Mc­Don­ald and her hus­band had been ar­rest­ed and tak­en in­to cus­tody.

They were de­tained ear­li­er to­day…in­quiries are on­go­ing at this time and more in­for­ma­tion will be pro­vid­ed when it be­comes avail­able,” it added.

Out­side the min­is­ter’s home in Val­ley View, St Joseph on Thurs­day, of­fi­cers were seen mov­ing in and out of the premis­es. They ap­peared to be search­ing.

One neigh­bour who spoke with Guardian Me­dia on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, said the of­fi­cers ar­rived short­ly af­ter 6.30 am. Al­most five hours lat­er, at around 11.24 am the of­fi­cers left Mc­Don­ald’s home with a bun­dle of doc­u­ments.

Guardian Me­dia was un­able to de­ter­mine if Mc­Don­ald was still on the com­pound dur­ing the search as of­fi­cers seemed to de­lib­er­ate­ly ma­noeu­vre their ve­hi­cles in her dri­ve­way to block the me­dia. The dark­ly-tint­ed ve­hi­cles left the com­pound be­fore noon.

How­ev­er, just af­ter 3 pm, Guardian Me­dia was able to con­firm that Mc­Don­ald was tak­en to the Fraud Squad of­fices on Aber­crom­by Street in Port-of-Spain and lat­er tak­en to the St Joseph Po­lice Sta­tion where she re­mained up to press time. Her at­tor­ney, Pamela El­der SC, was al­so seen at the po­lice sta­tion.



    • Guy? Puhlease. Si la pas ni sooteewez la pas ni volare. All of them in it together on both sides of the political divide.

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