Moonilal Says He’s Being Framed


Calls Threat of Lawsuit Against Him as “Political Mischief”

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Former housing minister Dr. Roodal Moonilal has
described as “political mischief” a statement by the Trinidad and Tobago government
that it intends to pursue legal action against him over allegations of bid rigging with
respect to at least 10 contracts through the Estate Management and Business
Development Company (EMBD) in 2015.

Moonilal in a statement said he had been aware since last week Thursday that the
Attorney General Faris Al Rawi, had filed documents “in a matter in which there has
been a deliberate attempt at political mischief and to undermine my integrity and
character after I made serious allegations against the Attorney General.”

On Monday, Minister in the Office of the Attorney General Stuart Young, told a news
conference that the Keith Rowley government had filed lawsuits against five
contractors who it said colluded to defraud the State of over TT$200 million through
bid-rigging and contracts with inflated costs a few years ago.

“What we found was that the work which they claimed to have been done and they
had ben paid for doing was not performed. We have over a period of 18 months
done serious analysis of the various work sites and found that work was either not
done or the quality of the work was such a low quality, the value of the work could
not have been certified,” Young said.

He said certain EMBD employers had also participated in the payment of the funds
by “just certifying payment without checking to see whether the work was done”.

Young said that the state’s action will include claims against former EMBD chief
executive officer, Gary Parmassar, who was in 2016 among officials of that company
sent on administrative leave, pending a financial audit into the awarding of TT$400
million worth of contracts through the state-owned company.

Young said the Government’s “best in school” forensic team had found evidence of
collusion, mostly via text messages, among Moonilal, the contractors and the
EMBD official.

But in his statement, Moonilal said that the government had chosen “to muddy my
name but cannot file any civil action against me for breach of any duty.

“In a remarkable, incredulous and bewildering schedule to their defense they submit
typed-up pages of what they call “text messages” which at best has been fabricated,
manipulated, mutilated, shortened and carelessly arranged to paint a picture of civil
wrong doings.

“This has been typed by the Attorney General and the Minister in the Ministry of the
Attorney General who both drafted and submitted this statement since they
prosecute civil matters on behalf of the government. There are no screen shots, no
full display of messages, no certificate of authenticity from any known service
provider. In short it was typed up by the Attorney General and Minister Young to suit
their political purpose of smearing individuals and companies. “

Moonilal said the key objective is to stop the ongoing court matters against the
government. He said that the contractors had first taken action against the EMBDC
for outstanding payments and that the effect of the government’s motions “is to
postpone the matters that they face in court from the contractors”.

Moonilall was reported by the Trinidad Guardian earlier as saying he is being framed
by the PNM. He was quoted as saying, “It’s a weak, timid, lame attempt at political
mischief to distract from PNM’s troubles.”

He added, “I’m being framed. Young and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi should get
into woodworking.”

He continued, “They have their problems with Harry Ragoonanan so this is a
distraction. I challenge them to say when, exactly when they’d be filing civil matters
against me. A first-year law student will dismiss this.”