UNC challenges AG on discontinuance of case against Malcolm Jones

Monday, February 29, 2016 - 20:00

The United National Congress is challenging the Government over the discontinuance of a case filed against former Petrotrin president Malcolm Jones, announced the Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi at a news conference today.

The UNC believes that the case brought against Jones was strong and backed with solid evidence.

The following is the UNC's statement:

"The United National Congress notes with grave concern the sudden discontinuance of the $1.2 billion case filed by Petrotrin against its former President Malcolm Jones as a result of the failed Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) project. This case was filed after extensive forensic investigations were conducted on the advice of eminent Counsel including Vincent Nelson QC and Russell Martineau SC.

The appointment of Mr. Malcolm Jones to the Energy Sub Committee to advise the Rowley led Government on national energy policy matters, in the face of very serious allegations and pending litigation against him, was a clear sign that the Government had no respect for the legal process and intimated that they were not going to pursue this important case.

In this regard,  there are defendants in other cases involving multi-million dollar losses caused by breaches of fiduciary duties and negligence who have also been appointed by this Rowley led Government to serve in high public office, and preside over the further expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars. It is difficult to understand how such persons could be promoted in the face of such serious allegations whilst they are before the Courts facing such serious allegations.

AG Al-Rawi’s claim about the absence of documents at his office rings hollow as it is quite easy for any member of the public to obtain copies of any document filed in the High Court. It would have been simple for the AG to make a request for copies of the documents filed in Court if he so desired.

As an opposition Senator, AG Al-Rawi made strident calls upon the PP Government to disclose the legal advice it received in many cases. Today, we hereby call upon him to release copies of all legal opinions from the inception of this matter leading to its abrupt discontinuance in the public interest. If he has nothing to hide, then this should pose no difficulty.

The UNC is satisfied that this claim was brought on the basis of sound, clear and competent legal advice from Mr. Vincent Nelson QC and Mr. Russell Martineau SC. We were advised that there was a viable case to pursue against Mr. Jones for the loss of over $1.2 billion as a result of the failed GTL project. The loss thereby sustained,  paralysed Petrotrin and crippled its business development projects, leaving a gaping hole in its balance sheet. Petrotrin was eventually forced to sell the plant as scrap-iron without a single cent returned on its investment.

In so far as AG Al-Rawi claims that evidence in the GTL arbitration led to the discontinuance of this case, it should be noted that Mr. Malcom Jones gave evidence against Petrotrin in that arbitration and the People’s Partnership administration has won the arbitration.

Al-Rawi should also come clean and tell the nation whether he intends to adopt a similar course in the remaining cases against Calder Hart and the Ken Julien-led Board of E-Teck. The E-Teck case is in fact before the Privy Council after the PP Government won the matter in both the High Court and Court of Appeal.

We therefore call upon AG Al-Rawi to make full and frank disclosure of the Government’s true intention about the future conduct of these cases so that the public can judge whether there is more in the mortar than just the pestle."

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