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.