Accused men could avoid all charges
PORT-OF-SPAIN – A stay of extradition could spell the end of criminal proceedings against local businessmen Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh.
In order to avoid duplication of the charges laid in the United States, former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Geoffrey Henderson discontinued the local charges against both men.
So, failure to process their extradition request may see Ferguson and Galbaransingh avoid facing criminal charges both locally and in the United States.
DPP Roger Gaspard believes the local charges that were discontinued by his predecessor could be reinstated.
However, Senior Counsels Israel Khan and Dana Seetahal, and a third legal expert who requested anonymity, do not agree.
“That does not happen,” says Seetahal. “It is protected under the constitution. If any attempt is made to reinstate the discontinued charges it would amount to an abuse of process.”
Ferguson, former CEO of Maritime General, and Galbaransingh, Northern Construction Limited executive chairman, were indicted by a United States grand jury on November 29, 2005, to answer alleged corruption-related charges stemming from the construction of the $1.6 billion Piarco International Airport Terminal building.
The charges, 95 in total, arose from allegations of wire fraud, money laundering, bid-rigging, kickbacks, and conspiracy carried out with their associates, one of them being Raul J. Gutierrez Jr, the owner of the Miami-based Calmaquip Engineering Corporation, one of the major suppliers to the Piarco Airport project.
The businessmen lost one of their two battles to avoid extradition when on June 7, 2010, the Privy Council refused leave for them to appeal against the majority decision of the Court of Appeal. (Trinidad Express)