Police mum on Sunshine’s claim of minister’s arrest

Po­lice are nei­ther deny­ing nor con­firm­ing a re­port pub­lished by the Sun­shine news­pa­per that an­oth­er PNM Gov­ern­ment min­is­ter is “about to be charged.”

How­ev­er, pub­lish­er Jack Warn­er is stand­ing by the re­port.

 

Warn­er’s news­pa­per head­lined the claim this week, that a min­is­ter from the Man­ning-era PNM Gov­ern­ment was at is­sue.

Yes­ter­day Warn­er said, “I’m stand­ing by my sto­ry - sure,”

Sources said the mat­ter al­leged­ly in­volv­ing a sum of mon­ey had been un­der probe by po­lice.

Yes­ter­day Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith said he didn’t com­ment on any po­lice mat­ter in­volv­ing in­di­vid­u­als - whether min­is­ter or not - be­ing in­ves­ti­gat­ed, or not.

 

At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al Rawi and Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young had no com­ment on Warn­er’s sto­ry yes­ter­day.

Mean­while, re­gard­ing a for­mer PNM Min­is­ter who has been charged, the Guardian has con­firmed that po­lice of­fi­cers did at­tempt to meet with em­bat­tled ex-Min­is­ter Mar­lene Mc­Don­ald last Fri­day to speak with her on her claim that Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar had tipped Mc­Don­ald off be­fore po­lice ar­rest­ed her.

But the po­lice were un­suc­cess­ful in meet­ing Mc­Don­ald, it’s un­der­stood.

This, af­ter top po­lice of­fi­cials told Guardian Me­dia last week that a fe­male of­fi­cer had been as­signed to speak with Mc­Don­ald to see if she’s will­ing to dis­cuss her claim about Per­sad- Bisses­sar.

Prime Min­is­ter Kei­th Row­ley re­vealed the in­for­ma­tion in Par­lia­ment three weeks ago fol­low­ing which Mc­Don­ald con­firmed Per­sad- Bisses­sar had called four to five weeks be­fore Mc­Don­ald’s Au­gust 7 ar­rest to tell her that po­lice were “com­ing for her.” On Au­gust 10, Mc­Don­ald was slapped with sev­en al­leged cor­rup­tion charges in­clud­ing mon­ey laun­der­ing. Mc­Don­ald said she’d told on­ly Al Rawi and Young about Per­sad- Bisses­sar’s call. Al Rawi had con­firmed Mc­Don­ald spoke to him on it.

Le­gal sources had point­ed out that Sec­tion 51 (1/6) of the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act makes tip­ping off a per­son on an on­go­ing /up­com­ing po­lice probe, an of­fence where mon­ey laun­der­ing mat­ters are con­cerned. Just un­der two weeks ago al­so, Op­po­si­tion deputy leader David Lee had said Al Rawi - in Par­lia­men­tary cross-talk - told UNC MPs that Sec­tion 51 is a big “prob­lem” for the Op­po­si­tion. Lee said UNC MPs re­searched the Act, but saw no is­sue there for Per­sad- Bisses­sar.

Po­lice, not­ing Sec­tion 51, had said that if any ex­change was sim­ply ca­su­al ban­ter, that was no of­fence, but if a se­ri­ous warn­ing was giv­en, that was an­oth­er mat­ter. They ‘d said ques­tions would have to be an­swered “ahead.” It was sub­se­quent­ly con­firmed of­fi­cers were as­signed to speak to Mc­Don­ald re­gard­ing her “tip-off” state­ment.

This week, the Guardian con­firmed of­fi­cers had in­deed sought to speak with Mc­Don­ald last Fri­day - go­ing to her home and con­stituen­cy of­fice. But they were told to con­tact her at­tor­ney. Mc­Don­ald’s at­tor­ney Pamela El­der said yes­ter­day she wasn’t speak­ing.

The po­lice had al­so gone to the Par­lia­ment where Mc­Don­ald was ex­pect­ed last Fri­day. But Mc­Don­ald was ab­sent that day. She hasn’t at­tend­ed since Ju­ly - be­fore Par­lia­ment’s an­nu­al re­cess and be­fore she was charged. Mc­Don­ald has now re­mained mum and Per­sad- Bisses­sar, sim­i­lar­ly silent. She said re­cent­ly the”Mar­leneGate” is­sue is sub-ju­dice.

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