ONE year ago, during the debate of budget 2019, Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal grabbed headlines with the claim that he had a document from a bank in Miami into which millions of dollars had been deposited.
Under persistent demands from MPs he said the names “Keith Rowley” and “Vidya Deokiesingh” were on the wire transfer documents.
He also read out an email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. It was purportedly sent by Vivian Baksh of A&V Drilling and began with “Dear Honourable Prime Minister” and contained details of a banking transaction with an account number.
In the ensuing days, the email address turned out to be that of the Prime Minister’s cousin. Regarding the alleged bank account, the Prime Minister denied having a bank account in Miami while a Miami businessman, Charlie Diaz, said although the account number was that of his company, he had never done any business with a company named in the purported email, nor paid any money to Keith Rowley or Vidya Deokiesingh. Both Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Diaz dismissed the email as fake with Dr Rowley calling on the police and the Financial Intelligence Unit to investigate Dr Moonilal’s statement and make their findings public. He has since filed legal action against Dr Moonilal.
Fast forward one year to another budget debate and along comes another headline-grabber from Dr Moonilal with a web of allegations about text messages, emails and wire transfers again featuring the names “Keith Rowley” and “Vidya Deokiesingh”.
While declining to disclose the beneficiaries of a wire transfer, shortly thereafter a document purporting to be a wire transfer with the names “Keith Rowley” and Vidya Deokiesingh” was released on the Internet. Once again Dr Rowley has dismissed the document as fake.
In an editorial on last year’s allegations by Dr Moonilal, this newspaper called for an urgent and independent police investigation into Dr Moonilal’s allegations while urging all parties to refrain from innuendo. In so doing, we pointed out the irony of Dr Rowley’s assertion of being a victim of fake emails given his own central role in the so-called “emailgate” of 2013 when he read into Hansard emails with a barrage of unproven allegations against members of the then-People’s Partnership Government. It took the police two-and-a-half years to conclude its investigation with the finding of no evidence to support its allegations.
Some genies, once let out of the bottle, are impossible to put back. In this latest round of allegations and denials, the truth-seeking public remains the group most unserved. While loyalists will back their sides, the large majority are interested in distilling facts in the politically-charged environment. Dr Moonilal did not do himself credit by his conspiratorial interpretation of a photo involving leaders of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union which was swiftly proven to be untrue. He is, however, on the parliamentary record as stating that his latest documents are real, an assertion denied by the Prime Minister. As before, this newspaper urges Commissioner Gary Griffith to step up the investigation into this matter to bring clarity to this issue of great doubt.