PM says there’s nothing for him to investigate with the former THA administration

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PM says there’s nothing for him to investigate with the former THA administration

There was a verbal clash between Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Naparima MP Rodney Charles in the parliament on Tuesday.

This occurred after Charles asked Dr Rowley if he had requested an investigation into “very serious allegations of malfeasance in the issuing of awards of contracts by the former THA Administration.”

Rowley said, “I know not of what he speaks but maybe the member has information about serious allegations of malfeasance. And, of course, if he does, I know he will run to the correct authorities.

“We have authorities in this country established for this precise purpose. So if what he has heard or any allegations which he believes require an investigation, I am sure the Integrity Commission and the police would have heard it too.
“So, therefore, I am not in any position to refer to what he’s talking about.”

Charles then asked Rowley if he was aware of allegations that two senior government officials pressured the THA to pay a contractor who happens to be his friend. Charles said the allegation was made by Augustine.

Rowley asked if standing order 48(1) can be applied, which says, “Debate upon any motion, bill or amendment shall be relevant to such motion, bill or amendment, and a member shall confine his observations to the subject under discussion.”

Rowley said, “So it’s all well and good to jump on 48(1) and say I can’t cast aspersions but he can get up and make questions…my friend…”

He continued, “I have no friend who is collecting any money from the government on my instructions because authorities have the right to spend government monies with respect to their authority.

“And as far as the statement made by the Chief Secretary, the Chief Secretary can explain himself. I am not to help him explain himself.”

Charles pressed on, asking the PM if he would not care to publicise information if malfeasance occurs in an institution under his watch.

Rowley said he was “certainly not” saying that.

“That is why so many of them are in difficulty with the State,” he added, referencing members of the opposition.

Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh stood up and asked Rowley to clarify as he ought not to be making such “wild aspersions.”

Rowley said there are Parliamentarians on $1 million bail and another before the High Court for fraud.

“Allegations are made by those on the other side and others at a mile a minute, a thousand a day. I am not going to be in the habit of having an investigation into every wild allegation they made. But we do have members here who have serious difficulty with the court and the police.”

Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal then asked if an independent probe would be launched into the former THA administration’s decision to purchase 13 acres of land from the Warner Group of Companies for $43 million to build a secondary school.

Rowley said he is not aware “of any such transaction.”
But he added that if it were to happen, the THA had full authority under the law to purchase land.

He said he was aware that the THA had been looking for a site to relocate the Scarborough Secondary School.

“If the THA has, in fact, taken action towards that, I do not know why my colleague in the Parliament is referring to that as ‘purportedly for.’