A WOMAN dear to Princes Town Member of Parliament Barry Padarath is being investigated by police in connection with a bank account with close to $3 million in deposits.
A Sunday Express investigation which commenced last year has revealed that the personal account of the close relative, who is a housewife, was reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit of T&T (FIU) by a banking institution.
An intelligence report was then prepared by the FIU and submitted to the Financial Investigations Branch (FIB) of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) to conduct an investigation.
The FIU does not have investigative powers.
A criminal investigation has since been launched into the source of the money and officers have compiled a list of contractors who they believe could assist in their investigations.
The Sunday Express has confirmed that police officers have visited the Office of the Prime Minister for material that could possibly help them during the period Padarath (B) was employed by then-prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar as her adviser.
While employed in that position, Padarath’s job specifications included assisting the PM with the planning and organising of policy and other related duties.
He received a salary of $18,000 a month, plus a $2,500 transport allowance.
Attorney: client not obligated to be interviewed
Police sources told the Sunday Express officers attached to the FIB visited the Central Trinidad home of the woman on January 8 this year seeking to interview her but she declined to be interviewed.
The following day (January 9), the woman, through her attorney Renuka Rambhajan, wrote to one Insp Alfred of the FIB declining any interview which was scheduled for January 10.
The legal letter noted that on January 8, an officer who gave his name as “Mr Codrington”, visited the home of the woman where he gave her Alfred’s number.
Subsequent to that visit the woman (name called) “telephoned you (Insp Alfred) and was informed that you wished to interview her in connection with an ongoing investigation into the offence of money laundering...”
The attorney stated that based on instructions, her client “then enquired of you whether she should retain the services of an attorney-at-law to which you nonchalantly replied that it was up to her”.
“In the circumstances, I wish to advise you that my client has been advised that she is not obliged in law to attend and partake in any interview process,” the letter stated.
Additionally, the attorney stated her client wished to be provided “with a measure of disclosure before she makes a final decision as to whether or not she will participate in the process”.
According to the letter, such disclosures are as follows:
a) Whether or not she is a suspect in the commission of a specific offence.
b) Whether your purpose to conduct an interview under caution and if the answer to that is yes, whether you propose to administer a rule II or rule III caution.
c) The gist of the allegation made against my client, if she is a suspect.
d) Advance notice of any documentation which you may propose to seek my client to comment upon so that I may seek her instructions and then render advise thereon...”
Additionally, the attorney stated should the investigators, “propose to conduct a fair interview then these matters are consonant with the basic norms of a fair procedure” and hopefully the investigators accede to the requests.
It is in those circumstances Rambhajan stated her client will not be subjecting herself to any interview at the offices on Friday January 10, prior to the requested disclosures being made available.
Padarath: I have no information
Shortly thereafter the letter was dispatched, the woman left the country for the United States.
On March 22, Padarath also left T&T for the US and is still there.
T&T’s borders were closed at midnight on March 22.
Contacted on March 24 via telephone, Padarath said: “I am a parent before a politician. My infant daughter is an American citizen who does not hold dual citizenship. I didn’t apply for citizenship because of the vicious political attacks, knowing that she would be used by my political opponents as a pawn in the political arena.”
Padarath had also indicated his daughter was required to leave T&T in January for her medical check-ups.
“Since then, she has been in the US with my family while I have been back and forth,” Padarath said.
Padarath was again contacted by the Sunday Express via telephone on April 3 at 4.41 p.m.
His responses are as follows:
Sunday Express (SE): Are you aware that (name of relative called) is the subject of an ongoing police investigation?
Padarath: No, as far as I know, she was asked for an interview and she has put it in her lawyer’s hands. That’s as far as I know.
SE: Have you or (the woman) been contacted by the TTPS regarding an investigation into the monies deposited? If yes, when?
Padarath: No, I said, her lawyer has responded and that’s as much information as I have.
SE: Did you give your (relative) over $2.5 million to place in her account? If you did, can you state the source and why it was not deposited into your account?
Barry Padarath: All those things, were ... are ... umm ... subject as I said to discussions between her lawyer and the police, umm ... I have no information as to what this is about.