Former Trinidad and Tobago Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has been charged with obstruction of justice and misbehavior in public office.
Ramlogan served as Attorney General under the former Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration between 2010-2015, before he was fired.
It is the first time in the history of T&T that a former Attorney General was charged with criminal offences.
Police had been probing a report that Ramlogan had allegedly tried to persuade incoming director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) David West to drop his witness statement in support of then-opposition leader Dr. Keith Rowley in a defamation lawsuit he had against Rowley. Rowley is now the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
The lawsuit concerned comments about the controversial Section 34 issue and extradition proceedings involving businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson who are charged with racketeering and money laundering.
West alleged Ramlogan “promised” he would be appointed PCA director if he withdrew from the defamation matter.
Despite the alleged “promise”, West was appointed PCA director on Nov. 7, 2014.
After a daily newspaper reporter broke the story in January 2015 a police investigation was ordered into a “witness tampering” probe by acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams the same month.
West had alleged that Ramlogan, in a phone conversation six days before he was appointed PCA director “asked” him to withdraw as a witness in the matter involving Rowley.
Ramlogan has denied he made such a request.
The second “obstruction” charge stated that “Ramlogan, reasonably believing that David West was a potential witness in judicial proceedings, did use threats, bribery or other means to dissuade him (West) from giving evidence contrary to section 11 (2) (A) of the Criminal Offences Act.”
His attorney Pamela Elder, SC, told the media that the allegations against Ramlogan were “very serious” charges.
The former AG was granted $700,000 bail by a Justice of the Peace. He appeared in the Port of Spain Magistrate Court on Friday,Sept. 1 and the matter was adjourned to Jan. 11, 2018.
Around 6 am on Tuesday, a party of police officers from the Fraud Squad led by Deputy Commissioner of Police Harold Phillips swooped down on the home of Ramlogan in South Trinidad and carried out a search. His cellphone was seized.
Ramlogan was then taken to Police Headquarters in Port of Spain where he was interrogated for more than 36 hours before he was charged.