Jensen La Vende
THE Opposition is continuing its call for Attorney General Reginald Armour to be fired or resign, saying his supposed lies may jeopardise the country’s chances at recouping hundreds of millions of dollars in a US-based lawsuit.
At a media conference at the Opposition Leader’s office, Charles Street, Port of Spain on Thursday, Barataria/San Juan MP Saddam Hosein showed documents which, he claimed, proved Armour misled a US court when he said he played a minimal role as defence attorney for former finance minister Brian Kuei Tung and his spouse Renee Pierre in the Piarco airport construction corruption case.
Hosein read from a magistrate’s court extract which had other attorneys adopting the submissions made by Armour, and a newspaper article which said Armour cross-examined a witness.
Also supporting the claim that the AG misled the US court in his affidavit was Senator Wade Mark who said, since 2004 Armour was on record as being a senior counsel in the matter and that is not any insignificant role.
After Armour was appointed AG, Kuei Tung and another defendant in the lawsuit, Steve Ferguson, applied to have the matter dismissed and Sequor Law, the company representing TT, removed given Armour’s association with the firm and his previous involvement with Kuei Tung.
A US judge ordered the firm relinquished of any and all roles it played in the lawsuit. Armour said he found that “patently wrong” and allowed former AG Faris Al-Rawi to address it as deemed fit given he had recused himself. Al-Rawi has since appealed the ruling.
In a media release on Wednesday, Armour said he will say nothing on the matter beyond his June 4 statement which said he told the US court he had a minimal role as the couple’s attorney, and at the first opportunity recused himself and appointed his predecessor to act in his stead.
Asked if it will be prudent of Armour to speak now given there may be an investigation by the Law Association and his statement can prejudice that, Hosein said yes adding they just want him to say he resigns.
“The AG of the country cannot continue to act as AG because of what has happened in this matter,” Hosein said, adding that if Armour resigns now then the appeal will become superfluous.
“Had the PM did his due diligence before appointing Mr Armour, then we would have escaped this. Clearly there was no due diligence done before he was appointed.”
Mark questioned why Armour said on his affidavit that he had limited interaction in the case as he was, supposedly, a junior at the time.
“If the case collapses, I think Reginald Armour should be held personally liable, accountable and responsible. Why would you go on oath and lie? Why? Didn’t he know he was lying and jeopardising the chances TT getting back what is rightfully ours? Why would an AG want to lie in that way? He must be held liable, culpable and responsible.”
Mark said the laws should be changed so that Armour is found financially responsible if his supposed untruths caused the case to collapse.
Regarding the appointing of Al-Rawi to represent the State, Hosein said that was never Gazetted as part of his responsibilities, and therefore he is acting outside of his remit.
Hosein and Mark consider the AG’s actions as a national scandal and embarrassment and said the Prime Minister should act.
They also denied that their fervour for the removal of Armour had anything to do with them supporting the former affiliates of the United National Congress.
Hosein said the Opposition did not, up to Thursday, write the Law Association or the US court about Armour’s alleged misconduct. He added that if and when that is done, the country will be told.