Duprey, Monteil no show upsets Colman


Duprey, Andre Monteil, CL Financial Group’s former financial director, and Roger Trotman, the Clico Investment Bank’s (CIB) former president, were supposed to give evidence yesterday but they all failed to appear. “Mr. Duprey is in a different position from Andre Monteil…Mr. Duprey does not reside in T&T and there is no power I have to serve outside the jurisdiction, outside of the T&T court, in the United States, where he is,” Colman said.


“Equally, there is no facility for extraditing him on the grounds that he has failed to comply with the witness summons which has been issued, but because of his absence abroad it has not been served on him.” Colman referred to a letter he received from Duprey’s attorney, Lionel Luckhoo, which indicated Duprey would not be attending. He said it is now a “political issue” to determine the next steps to be undertaken to deal with Duprey. “I have no remedy for dealing with this situation at all,” he said.


“There is nothing in the Commission of Enquiry Act which enables me to take action against Duprey. “Mr. Duprey will not be giving evidence, and I will give attention to this when I write my report.” Under Section 12 of the act, charges have been filed against former CIB vice-president Mala Gandhi, former CIB president Lennox Archer, Trotman and Monteil for failing to appear to give evidence during this session of the enquiry. The full penalty for failing to appear is a fine of $2,000.


“As a result of the non-attendance of Mala Gandhi and Lennox Archer, both of whom were directed to appear to give evidence, I directed that proceedings begin against them pursuant to Section 12 of the Commission of Enquiry Act,” Colman said. “Mr. Israel Khan, Senior Counsel, Mr. Wayne Sturge and Mr. Lemuel Murphy have been retained by the secretary to prosecute those charges.”


Colman said Monteil’s attorney had sent a letter to the commission, defending Monteil’s refusal to appear. He quoted Monteil’s attorney’s letter: “These questions completely engage our client’s constitutional and statutory rights, including the privilege against self-incrimination.


Those questions which do not directly engage the said privilege may be used by the prosecuting authority to guide a criminal investigation against our client and will open lines of enquiry which may influence a charging decision in relation to him. Our client concluded he has sufficient cause not to attend the commission.”


Colman then said: “I want to make it clear that the content of the ruling I gave on April 18 is unappealable and written in stone. “The consequence is that notwithstanding the decision I arrived at, Mr. Monteil has concluded he has sufficient cause not to attend today,” he said. “I have decided that he will dealt with in the same way as Ms. Gandhi and Mr. Archer, namely, I shall direct the secretary to commence proceedings under Section 12 of the Commission of Enquiry Act against him.”


He also referred to Trotman who also failed to appear at yesterday’s sitting. “He is in a sort of halfway position, as he has already given oral evidence…Mr. Trotman has not indicated why he is not appearing today,” Colman said. “To me this is unsatisfactory, and I have used the discretion I have to commence proceedings under section 12 of the act against him. It is unfortunate, as he has already given evidence, but he is still subject to the summons which has been issued.”


Colman then warned: “It is important that witnesses who have been the subject of summons before the enquiry should understand it is their duty to comply, and if they do not then there are consequences.” In their absence, Commission’s counsel, Peter Carter, QC, read out the questions that both Trotman and Monteil would have been asked, had they appeared at the enquiry.


Section 12,

Commission of Enquiry Act states:

(1) All persons summoned to attend and give evidence, or to produce books, plans, or documents, at any sitting of any commission, shall be bound to obey the summons served upon them as fully in all respects as witnesses are bound to obey subpoenas issued from the High Court.

(2) Any person who refuses or fails, without sufficient cause, to attend at the time and place mentioned in the summons served on him, and any person who attends, but leaves the commission without the permission of the commissioners, or refuses without sufficient cause to answer or to answer fully and satisfactorily to the best of his knowledge and belief, all questions put to him…is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $2,000.



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