Trinidad Integrity Commission green light from US court to subpoena Google

Justice William H Orrick of the Northern District of California Court on August 14 granted the application for subpoena seeking information for the email accounts “anand@gmail.com,” “anand@tstt.net.tt,” and “kamlapb1@gmail.com,” “which the Commission said was relevant to a criminal investigation into possible governmental corruption.

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley on May 20, 2013 told Parliament he had received 31 emails purporting to show correspondence between Prime Minister Persad Bissessar, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Local Government and Works Minister Suruj Rambachan and then security adviser Gary Griffith, in a sinister move to undermine the judiciary, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the media.

Rowley said the emails, dating back to September 2012, were from people concerned with the government’s defence of the early proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act that had the effect of allowing people, whose trial has not started after a 10-year period to walk free and a verdict of not guilty entered against their

Critics say that the clause was aimed at supporting businessmen Ish Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson, who have been described as financiers of the ruling United National Congress (UNC), the biggest partner in the four-member coalition People’s Partnership government.

The two are facing fraud and laundering charges relating to the re-development of the Piarco International Airport in 2001. They are also wanted in the United States on a number of related charges.

The government officials have all denied the accusations and Prime Minister Persad Bissessar and Ramlogan have filed pre-action protocol letters alleging that Rowley on May 23, 2013, at a public meeting continued to use the e-mails as the basis for his assertion.

Justice Orrick ruled that the application by the Integrity Commission met both the statutory requirements and discretionary factors.

He ruled that Google itself is not the subject of the case and since it’s out of the jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago law enforcement, any evidence will be unobtainable without Google’s help.

He said there was also no evidence the request is an attempt to circumvent foreign proof-gathering restrictions or any country’s policies and that it’s not “intrusive or burdensome.”

The judge said the subpoena is only a request for information concerning three accounts and an affidavit to authenticate…and according to the document, one of the owners, Anand Ramlogan, has given consent to search his TSTT account which is operated by Google.

“The Commission shall serve Google with this Order and the subpoena, and shall file proof of service on the day service is effected. Google may move to modify or quash this subpoena within 14 days of service. “Any return date for the subpoena shall be at least 14 days after the date Google is served so that Google may have a reasonable amount to file any motion; the return date shall be stayed if such a motion is filed. The Commission shall file any response within 14 days of any motion by Google,” the judge ruled.

Chairman of the Integrity Commission, Ken Gordon, is quoted in the NEWSDAY newspaper on Tuesday as saying “things seem be to going forward and we all want to get the facts”.



 

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