« on: December 02, 2013, 06:12:58 AM »
State pays out $53m in legal fees.
By Denyse Renne (Express).
The State has paid more than $53 million in legal fees to attorneys from June 2010-October 2013.
The main beneficiaries are Queen’s Counsel Allan Newman, Fenton Ramsahoye SC, Gerald Ramdeen, Kelvin Ramkissoon, Jagdeo Singh, Seenath Jairam SC and Avory Sinanan SC.
This figure excludes work done on behalf of State boards and invoices awaiting approval.
Sources say invoices within the Attorney General’s office, awaiting approval, total more than $8 million.
The Express understands that the payments exclude work done for various State enterprises such as WASA, T&TEC, NWRHA (North West Regional Health Authority), SWRHA (South West Regional Health Authority), and PTSC (Public Transport Service Corporation), just to name a few.
For the past two years, the Express has applied to the AG’s office under the Freedom of Information Act to ascertain the amount of money being spent to facilitate representation in court cases.
Calls were made to the office seeking reasons why the information was not forthcoming.
Two months ago, another application was made, but to date no response has been communicated.
According to invoices obtained by the Express, for the periods June 2010 to October 2013, Newman topped the list of high earners, having received $14,474,613.54; Ramdeen—$10,443,423; Ramsahoye—$7,750,096; Sinanan—$6,568,225; Ramkissoon—$5,924,631.80; Jairam—$4,478,847.50; and Singh—$3,728,832.97.
The fees were paid for briefs on being retained by the Office of the Attorney General and include professional legal advice, court appearances, investigations, and judicial review applications.
The results of the investigations, sources say, have not been forwarded to the police for investigation, nor sent to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
However, the matters are before the courts after civil action was initiated.
Sources say, in the past, the retention of attorneys was done by the Solicitor General. However, such a practice has lapsed and all decisions on who to retain have been taken by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.
Last month, Solicitor General Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell SC tendered her resignation, which comes into effect on January 14. She has remained silent on several questions posed to her.
Efforts to contact her yesterday were unsuccessful.
Continuing Express investigations show that on January 13, 2012, Newman was paid $1,846,042.25. That case is not specified on the invoice, only “debit advice 1397 dated 28/12/11”.
An invoice, dated 5/6/11, stated he billed the State following investigations into Gopaul and Company Limited.
The amount also covers debit advice “1397” and also the invoice dated 21/10/11 “RE: investigative probe”.
Another payment of $2,360,859.21 was made on May 25 last year. The invoice states “debit advice #3950 dated May 14, 2012. Overseas payment”.
On September 4, Ramsahoye received $483,210 for advice given on legislation concerning violent crime in Trinidad and Tobago.
Advice was also given “on the majority required to enact in Parliament the Miscellaneous Provisions (Defence and Police Complaints) Bill 2013”.
He was also paid a further $322,140 that same day for advice given on the enactment of the Administration of Justice (Parole) Bill 2013.
Among the top paying matters were extradition proceedings against businessmen and United National Congress (UNC) financiers Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson, CLICO and investigations into Petrotrin, UTT and eTecK.
During the budget debate on September 22, 2010, Ramlogan told the Senate that under the last administration “$84 million in legal fees was paid to ten lawyers” during 2001-2010.
He also claimed: “The total legal fees paid by my Ministry to just ten local legal friends of the PNM amounted to just over $84 million..ten persons’ names regimentally appear each year.”
Contacted last week and asked about the fee structure used when submitting invoices, Ramkissoon said: “In most cases I am with senior counsel and, according to fee structure charged by senior, I am entitled to two-thirds of that in brief. I have never gone outside of that.”
The Express then asked whether he had ever been asked to lower his fees, as they may have been too high, and he responded: “There may have been, it may have happened, but I do not recall that.”
Ramkissoon further explained that he abides by the Legal Profession Act or failure to do so would result in him being penalized.
He added that when submitting invoices, they are sent to the Solicitor General’s department.
When contacted for comment, Singh, who said his fees are reasonable, added: “When billing a client, I abide by the rules which govern my profession.”
Jairam, who is also president of the Law Association, when asked whether a fee structure is in place when dealing with legal fees, said: “No. There are no formats or regulations. It’s a matter of attorneys submitting invoices and it is negotiable. There are guidelines as to hourly charges on litigation...these are general guidelines which are used when a litigant is successful in a case.”
Earlier this year, Jairam replaced attorneys Fyard Hosein SC and Michael Quamina at the Commission of Inquiry into the collapse of CLICO.
Shortly after receiving the brief, he gave it up, as concerns were raised within the legal fraternity that acceptance of the brief was a conflict of interest.
Shortly after being sworn in as AG, Ramlogan, in a July 1, 2010 letter, wrote to then Finance Minister Winston Dookeran: “I write further to our meeting and my discussions today with the Honourable Minister of Finance to advise that Mr Alan Newman QC is to be instructed and retained, instead of Mr Gilbert Peterson SC, with immediate effect.
“Kindly forward a brief to Mr Newman’s Chambers with the relevant papers via Fedex as soon as possible. Please also be reminded of the outstanding status reports I requested regarding the status of all pending legal matters.”
Sources say the services of Peterson were to be retained, but this did not materialise following Ramlogan’s instructions.
Ramdeen, in responding to queries, said he has never been informed by the AG’s office that his fees were high.
“On the contrary, there are many occasions where I charge a fee less than I am entitled to charge, “ he said.
Efforts to contact Ramlogan via e-mail and text messages for comment were unsuccessful.
Former AG Ramesh Lawrence-Maharaj SC, when contacted last weekend, said it is the responsibility of the Solicitor General to “choose attorneys whom she deems fit to represent the State”.
He said, following this, the names are approved by the AG.
“However, this is not being done and the AG is choosing lawyers by himself. The nation needs to know whether the procedures for recruiting these lawyers are being followed,” said Maharaj.
Stating that fees paid to attorneys has been a contentious issue, Maharaj said when invoices are submitted, checks ought to be conducted on the requisition and then submitted to the AG.
“The AG then compares the requisition with what is the normal fee paid to lawyers.”
Adding that ministers should not be retaining lawyers, Maharaj said: “That’s why in so many cases you have friends being retained.”
8.8.11—$45,000 Pre-action protocol issued by Alexander Jeremie and Co- alleged unlawful CLICO policy of gov’t and pre-action protocol issued by RLM and Co-alleged unlawful CLICO policy of gov’t
30.8.11—$61,666.65 Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG
27.9.11—$210,000- Eon Hewitt and others vs Ministry of Works and Transport and the Transport Commissioner; and the Minister of Works and Transport and the Transport Commissioner of T&T vs Eon Hewitt and others
28.9.11—$179,750- Patrick Manning vs AG&CV2011-2018 Patrick Manning vs AG and re: Twin infants born to Ms Hope-Request to make infants ward of the state.
14.11.11—$23,000-Alleged unlawful CLICO policy response to RLM & Co
15.12.11—$80,000-Harold Chang vs Minister of Health, NWRHA, PS Minister of Health and Dr Ramshwardath Mahabir, ag Medical chief of staff Port of Spain General Hospital
20.1.12—$26,664- Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG
28.2.12— $322,500- Global Bank of Commerce Ltd vs Central Bank T&T and Winston Dookeran Minister of Finance; Citizens Bank of Guyana Inc vs Central Bank of T&T and Winston Dookeran Minister of Finance; the United policyholders group and others vs Kamla Persad-Bissessar and others.
28.5.12—$259,000- Percy Farrell and others vs Central Bank, Republic Bank, Minister of Finance and AG, RE: Broadgate Place Property Company Ltd vs Minister of Planning, Econnomic and Social Restructuring and Gender Affairs
29.6.12—$75,000-Richard Ramoutar vs Director of Personal Administration
27.7.12—$53,250- Clico vs Kamla; Percy Farrel vs Clico
16.7.12—$45,000- Percy Farrel and others vs Clico, Central Bank, Republic Bank, Minister of Finance and AG-application for conditional leave to appeal to the Privy Council (2) Civil appeal No. 95 of 2012-Percy Farrel and others vs Clico, Central Bank, Republic Bank, Minister of Finance and AG-application for conditional leave to appeal the Privy Council
27.7.12— $83,225-Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG
17.8.12—$80,000-Clico vs Kamla; Percy Farrel vs Clico
17.8.12—$62,000-Ricky Steven and others vs Ministry of Energy
26.9.12—$350,000- United Clico Policyholders vs Kamla Persad-Bissessar and others (substituted by the AG pursuant to order of the court)
18.10.12—$100,000- Fire Service Association vs Carl Williams-Chief Fire Officer and PSA and AG
21.12.12—$115,000-Ameen Ali vs NWRHA-Minister of Health and the PS, Ministry of Health
6.2.13—$134,167.05-Stephen Maynard and others vs the Commissioner of Police
27.2.13—$72,833.13-United Policyholders vs AG
21.5.13—$166,743.10-United Clico Policyholders vs AG
14.6.13—86,250- Soca for Peace Foundation vs the Registrar of the Supreme Court
3.9.13-$741,750- AG vs United Clico Policy holders and others
21.10.13-$207,000- Prakash vs Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs and PS
Fenton Ramsahoye SC—$7,750,096
17/01/11 — $588,772.40 - debit advice 1179 dated 16/12/10
23/9/11—$1205,625.20 -debit advice 5492 dated 22/8/11
23/9/11— 32,064.50- debit advice 5496 dated 24/8/11
28/9/11—$313,038- debit advice dated-15/9/11
28/9/11—$104,346- debit advice 5919 dated 15/9/11
14/12/11—$526,669.90- Advice RE: Guarentee to the lending agency Wells Fargo Bank NW, Advice RE: 2 draft detention orders under the emergency regulations re: professional fees: Privy Council Appeal No: 0089 of 2010
26/03/12—$535,673.40- Advice RE: sale as shareholder of Primera Oil and Gas Limited. Services RE: Declaration of a State of Emergency in T&T in August 2011
17/4/12—$1140,899- Advice RE: the director of personnel administration, data protection act, undertaking by TDC to BICC RE: advice environmental clearance certificate, compliance with the extractive industries transparency initiative
04/05/12—$418,496- re: advice application of central tenders board legislation
28/09/12—$77,242.80- Advice on the question whether the President may exercise the power of removal of the chairman of the Environmental Commission
28/09/12—$386,460- Advice: re: exemption from taxes on purchase of motor vehicles
30/07/12—$642,630- Advice re: legal provisions for enactment to terminate from an appointed day the power and authority of the judicial committee of the Privy Council, advice re: the Amendment of article XXV of the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice
03/1/13— $62,413.80- Advice RE: whether Israel Khan SC could be appointed as a member of the Firearms Appeal Board
15/5/13—$266,135- RE: overseas payment for advice given and for written opinion given.
04/09/13—$483,210-Advice re: on legislation concerning violent crime in TT, re: advice on the majority required to enact in Parliament the Miscellaneous Provisions (Defence and Police Complaints) Bill 2013
04/09/13-$644,280-Advice re: question whether the exchequer and audit Amendment Bill was properly introduced into the Senate: advice re: in connection with the termination of a lease by the Children’s Authority of TT; re advice: on the question whether information concerning taxes paid to the Revenue by oil mining and gas companies
04/09/13-$322,140- Advice re: on the enactment of the Administration of Justice ( Parole) Bill 2013.
Allan Newman QC—$14,474,613.54
17/8/13—$230,549.14 - re: Paponette, Clico JR (Alexander Jeremie letter) Clico JR (RLM letter)
23/12/10—$1255,537.70- Broadgate PI Tower, Calder Hart, Ingrid Isaac-contract of employment terms.
01/05/12—$3090,240- advice re: T&TEC, UTT,SPORTT,ETECK, MVSU
13/1/12—$1,846,042.25- advice -Investigative probe Re: Gopaul and Company Ltd
08/8/12—$754,320- Advice- Farrell and others vs Clico and others
21/11/12—$1047,510- United Policy Holders Group (JR RLM and Co)
19/2/13—$712,388.25- advice - Farrell and others vs Clico and others Court of Appeal- Repeal of Section 34
17/7/13—$2488,275- advice Repeal of Section 34 Administration of Justice
18/9/13—$21,245.91- Provision of professional services rendered in legal matters Clico, Lionel Luckhoo letter of 27/5/11, AG/SG-3/3/55- conference with Nicole Chapman et al. Re: letter (1hr) 14/7/12 opinion
27/9/13—$637,646.08- Farrell and others vs Clico and others-Privy Council application. HCU case- United Policy Holders group, repeal of Section 34
28.4.11—$146,500-HCU vs AG and others
2.6.11—$652,000- Fees: RE: Investigation into the affairs of Petrotrin, UTT and Sportt
7.6.11—$218,590- Fees: matter of appeal , between former PC Clinton Auguste and Commissioner of Police
17.11.11—$176,000-Trinidad Energy Investments Ltd and the AG: NGC: NEC
12.3.12—$10,000- detention of Ashmead Mohammed Choate
20.3.12—$100,000- Andrew Bernard vs AG
4.4.12-$40,000-Thompson Boddie and Harris vs Cabinet of T&T and AG
11.5.12—$335,000- Karen Teshiera vs AG:T&T Police and Social Welfare Association vs Commissioner of Police: Clinton Auguste and the police Commission and the Commission of Police
18.5.12— $150,000-Ruby Thompson Boddie and Lenore Harris vs Cabinet of T&T and AG: Re: Brig Peter Joseph vs AG
18.5.12—$950,000-Evolving Technologies Ltd vs Ken Julien and others: RE: Paradise Gardens Ltd vs Minister of Planning
26.6.12—$500,000-Trinidad Energt Investments Limited and AG: NGC:NEC
14.9.12—$100,000-Ramdeo Ramtahal vs Defence Council
1.11.12—$32,000-Quincy Noel vs AG, RE: Kevin Stuart vs AG
28.11.12—$233,000-Nizam Mohammed vs AG
17.1.13—$270,000- Ramdeo Ramtahal vs Defence Council, Julien and others vs Evolving Technologies and Enterprise Ltd, RE: Counsel and instructing attorney in HCA 93 of 1999 API Pipeline Ltd vs AG and the Board of Inland Revenue
18.2.13—$200,000-KKRV Consolidated Marine Services Ltd vs AG
26.2.13—$1,000,000- Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG and DPP
11.3.13—$300,000-Urban Development Ltd of T&T vs Calder Hart
10.5.13—$150,000-Requisition in matters of Winston Wilson and others
10.5.13—$150,000-Kublalsingh and others vs AG
10.5.13—$233,333-Clayton Andrews vs AG and Public Service Appeal Board
22.5.13—$250,000-Wendell Lucas vs Police Service Commission and the Promotion Advisory Board
12.6.13—$450,000- Wendell Lucas vs Police Service Commission and the Promotion Advisory Board: RE: Civil Appeal Ameena Ali vs NWRHA vs Ameena Ali
30.7.13—$150,000- Ferguson, Ameer Edoo, Maritime Life, Maritime General vsAG
30.7.13—$75,000-Bagoo and another vs Chief Immigration Officer
30.7.13—$100,000-Nizam Mohammed vs AG
30.7.13—$100,000-Jorge Calderon vs Magistrate Annette McKenzie
25.10.13—$150,000- Arnold Campbell vs AG
25.10.13—$150,000- Paul Fulchan vs AG
25.10.13—$750,000-Ferguson, Eddoo, Maritime Life, Maritime General vs AG
25.10.13—$500,000- Maurice Tomlinson vs State of T&T
25.10.13—$1,000,000- Petrotrin vs Malcom Jones
25.10.13—$266,000- Omar Singh vs Comptroller of Customs and Excise
25.10.13—$200,000- Afra Raymond vs The Ministry of Finance
25.10.13— $266,000-Omar Singh vs Comptroller of Customs and Excise
Seenath Jairam SC—$4,478,874.50
27/3/13—$402,500-Desalination company of T&T Ltd Registration recognition and certification board
11/4.13—$862,500-THA vs the AG of T&T
11/4/13—$316,250 –the Official Receiver vs All Trinidad General Workers Trade Union and Bel Air International Airports Hotel Ltd.
10/6/13—$402,500- Clayton Andrews and the AG of T&T and the Public Service Appeal Board
10/6/3013—$431,250- Sgt Wendell Lucas and others vs Commissioner of Police and the Promotion Advisory Board.
25/6/13— $632,500- Trade dispute between the OWTU vs the CPO and the PS in the Minister of Foreign Affairs
30/7/13— $460,000- Omar Singh vs the Comptroller of Customs and Excise Application for leave to apply for Judicial Review and interim relief
30/7/13—$373,750- Phillip Calbert Castor vs the Comptroller of Customs and Excise
3/9/13— $299,862.50 – Arnold Campbell vs the AG of T&T
24/10/13—$297,735- Paul Fulchan vs the AG of T&T
18.11.10—$100,000- Habeas Corpus application for Hassan Atwell (take instructions, peruse application and submission, appear on application etc)
13.1.11—$100,000-Appeal or of Justice Jones dismissing application for writ of habeas corpus by Atwell
13.1.11—$65,000-Fire sub- station officer Mohammed- take instructions, appear at San Fernando Magistartes’,conferences, advice, legal research, general care and conduct.
18.3.11—$133,333- HCU vs AG and Sir Anthony Coleman
13.6.11—$133,333- HCU vs AG and Sir Anthony Coleman
26.8.11—$199,000-Universal Projects Ltd vs AG
27.9.11—$240,000-Ramkissoon-Mohammed vs AG: Kerron Pierre vs Commissioner of Prison
1.12.11—$150,000-Sammersaon vs Magistrate Nannette Forder-John
12.3.12—$300,000-ag Cpl Bharath, PC Cielto, PC Lavia and PC Roberts
20.3.12—$150,000-AG vs Universal Projects
29.5.12—$163,333.33- Towfeek Ali vs ASP Chandrabhan, Insp Manswell,PC Thomas and AG
28.6.12—$156,666-School of Business and Computer Science vs AG
16.7.12—$310,000 Sgt Roy,Cpl Bentick,PC Baldwin vs Coroner Naini Singh; SBCS vs AG
9.8.12—$25,000-Kirby Smith vs Sandra Jones,PS, Ministry of Gender and Gender Affairs
14.9.12—$421,666.65- Towfeek Ali vs ASP Chandrabhan Maharaj,Insp Manswell, PC Thomas and the AG; Animals for education vs Chief game warden
10.10.12—$92,000- Advice Hassan Atwell
11.10.12— $28,750- Sammerson vs Magistrate Forde-John
30.1.13— $51,750- Taking instructions, preparation of bail application, three court appearances, research laws of bail penalty extradition, general care and conduct
10.5.13-$239,200— Towfeek Alivs ASP Chandrabhan Maharaj, Insp Manswell, PC Thomas and the AG
3.6.13—$174,800- Keron Pierre and the Commissioner of Prisons
3.6.13—$172,500-.Habas Corpus application-Jagmohan vs Commissioner of Prisons
5.6.13-$172,500-PC Narace vs Jagmohan
Fees paid by the Office of the AG from 2010 to present
Avory M Sinanan SC—$6,568,225
26.11.2010—$ 690,000 RE Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh vs AG (Judicial), Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh vs AG and Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicols (Constitutional appeal)
17.12.10—$28,750 Kelsick vs Dr Ajit Kuruvilla NWRHA and the AG
30.9.10—$20,700 Vernon Ashby vs Registrar of the Industrial Court
13.1.11—$115,000 Bail application –Galbaransingh and Ferguson
1.3.11—$230,000 Bail application Galbaransingh and Ferguson; Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG and McNicolls. Application to extend time and leave to appeal to the Privy Council; Kelsick vs Dr Kuruvilla NWRHA and the AG
15.2.13—$115,000 Appeal against the refusal of bail by Justice Andre Mon Desir-Galbaransingh and Ferguson
27.9.11—$106,375 Galbaransingh and Ferguson vs the AG
14.11.11—$172,500 Virgil Wharton vs AG (civil appeal no 67 of 2008)
20.1.12—$46,000 Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG
22.2.12—$172,500 Virgil Wharton vs AG
27.2.12—$115,000 AG vs Oswald Alleyne and 152 others
17.4.12—$319,700 Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG; School of Business and Computer Science
03.07.12—$678,500 SBCS vs AG, RE: Gladys Gafoor vs AG and others
12.9.12—$143,750 Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG
26.9.13—$517,500 John Henry Smith and Barbra Gomes vs AG and DPP and RE civil appeal Smith and Gomes vs Chief Magistarte and DPP, Galbaransingh and Armith Maharaj and Northern Construction Company vs Chief Magistrate.
22.11.12—$46,000 Gladys Gaffoor vs AG.
29.11.12—$402,500 Nizam Mohammed vs AG
27.12.12—$287,500 Gladys Gafoor vs AG
16.1.13—$431,250 DPP vs Magistrate Marcia Murray and Basdeo Panday. Kelsickvs NWRHA and the AG
6.2.13—$97,750 Kelsick vs NWRHA and the AG
19.2.13—$345,000 Tanya and Curtis Gayadeen vs AG
15.4.13—$143,750 Extradition Doreen Alexander Durity
11.6.13—$230,000 Extradition Doreen Alexander Durity vs the AG (Judicial Review)
7/7/13—$172,500 Nizam Mohammed vs AG
21/10/13—$316,250 The Mayor, Councillors and citizens of the City of PoS vs AG
24.6.11—$552,000 Tanya and Curtis Gayadeen vs the AG
8.8.11—$20,700 Tanya and Curtis Gayadeen vs AG
8.6.11—$86,250 Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh vs AG and Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls—application for disclosure
23.5.11—$69,000 Impounding of motor vehicles by the POS City Corporation
18.03.11—$575,000 Galbaransingh and Ferguson vs AG, substantive application for judicial review, application for permission to apply for judicial review, HCU vs AG and Sir Anthony Colman
22.12.10—$399,999.33 Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh vs AG (application for leave for Judicial Review-Justice Charles) Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG (appeal on Judicial Review from order of Justice Charles) Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG (constitutional appeal) (constitutional appeal)
20.03.12—$400,000 Percy Farrell and others vs CLICO, Central Bank, Republic Bank Ltd, Winston Dookeran, Ministry of Finance and the AG
14.03.13—$230,000 Wayne Kublalsingh and others vs AG
11.6.13—$153,333.95 RE: CV: 2013-01303- Extradition of Doreen Alexander Durity vs AG (Judicial Review) dated- 17.5.13
22.10.13—$153,332.95 CV 2013-01303 in the matter of extradition of Doreen Alexander vs AG (Judicial Review)
23.01.13—$57,500 Request legal opinion Environmental Commission
10.8.10—$65,000 Brief as counsel for attending at the hearing of the Bail Application
30.9.10—$35,000 Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG and McNicols
19.11.10—$66,666.66 Claim between Ramnarace Nandoo and Nalini Singh; fee on brief as junior counsel to Russell Martineau SC, consideration of the law, notice of application to dismiss matter on basis of abuse and provisions of Magistrates’ Protection Act, affidavit in support of application, attendance at court, general care and conduct.
13.1.11—$75,000 Fees Re: Application for bail-Galbaransingh and Ferguson
28.1.11—$15,500 Professional services rendered: Re: Response to Pre-Action protocol issued against the Hon Minister of Finance for alleged defamation, issued by the HCU Cooperative Society Ltd and its Directors
15.2.11—$199,999.98 Fees Re: Broadgate Place Property Company Ltd vs Minister of Planning, Gender Affairs and appeal against the refusal of bail by Justice Mon Desir- Galbaransingh and Ferguson
18.3.11—$250,000 Galbaransingh and Ferguson; Galbaransingh and Ferguson vs AG (substantive application for judicial review;Ferguson and Galbaransingh, Galbaransingh and Ferguson vs AG and McNicolls-application to extend time and for leave to appeal to the Privy Council
7.6.11—$50,000 Fees: Ferguson and Galbaransingh vs AG and McNicolls- Appliction for disclosure
27.6.11—$18,500 Fees: Proposed claim by Hollis Hinds, Senior Business Analyst, Monitering and Networking Unit, Ministry of Trade and the Industry