The Attorney General has found himself under a negative spotlight once again, as the law firm owned by his wife has been hired by the Office of the Prime Minister.
The firm, Haynes-Soo Hon and Co, has been hired to file a formal response on behalf of the Cabinet to a pre-action protocol letter sent by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, who is challenging the Cabinet over the cut in the number of national scholarships and the implementation of a new bursary system.
Al-Rawi, in an interview with the Newsday, said he had nothing to do with his wife’s firm hiring, as it was forbidden to receive work from the Office of the Attorney General.
However, he claimed that it was ‘ok’ for the firm to be hired by other arms of the State, including the Office of the Prime Minister.
Al-Rawi assured that there was no bias involved, adding that there are other Cabinet ministers whose spouses are attorneys who sometimes do work on behalf of the State or certain ministries.
But, UNC senator Jayanti Lutchmedial said “The Attorney General – the state’s lawyer – was saying he essentially saw nothing wrong with the Cabinet, of which he is a part, hiring his wife’s law firm, where he worked previously.”
She reported that when she worked for the State, in a ministry, all counsel to be hired were approved by the Attorney General.
Lutchmedial said this is exactly why there was a need for greater oversight in the expenditure of public monies.
She told the Newsday “A responsible attorney general ought to be more cognisant of the public’s perception and the public’s confidence in laws, expenditure of funds and the propriety with which people are hired.”
She said whether he had any input into who was hired, or not hired, by the Office of the Prime Minister was something the Opposition had to look into some more.