Legal fee fiasco


Minister in the Office of the Attorney General, Stuart Young says millions in legal fees were being paid to lawyers representing Petrotrin and the National Gas Company (NGC). During the budget debate in parliament, Young said over $162 million was paid to lawyers representing both entities over five years under the People’s Partnership administration.

Young then said over $400 million was spent on legal advice for the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago over a five year period. The Minister also detailed an $86,250 legal fee for a pre-action protocol letter for ETeck, while $172,000 was charged for a legal opinion. Young said these were some of the figures that they found on investigation.

 

Young said Central Bank Governor Jawala Rambaran was paid over a million dollars for legal advice when he was not a legal expert. Advice, Young said, that they have been unable to find evidence of at the Office of the Attorney General.

 

Meanwhile, Attorney General (AG) Faris al Rawi has taken former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to task regarding legal fees. Kicking off debate on the budget in parliament this morning, Al Rawi chastised Ramlogan for now suing the state in defence of the criminals Al Rawi says the People’s Partnership was responsible for jailing in the first place.

 

The San Fernando West MP also laid in parliament the cost to tax payers regarding the Las Alturas enquiry. The Attorney General says the enquiry is only half way through and so far has cost tax payers 18 million dollars in legal fees and operational expenses. He added that the commission recently wrote for an extension and an increase in fees.

Regarding the LifeSport programme, the AG said he received legal opinion that a LifeSport forensic audit should have been pursued in order to recoup some 500 million from the programme. The AG said there will be a focussed and measured approach to outstanding legal matters. He also pledged to the director of public prosecutions a strengthening of the institutional legal framework of the country.

 

Al Rawi says there will be the establishment of a tracking committee regarding murders and that the public will receive an explanation as to why no one faced the hang man and if they are to face it there will be an explanation as to why as well. The AG also pledged that state attorneys will act in all state matters and senior counsels will be used only in unique cases.

 


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