Cops finalise case into 2019 vehicle purchase

Po­lice sources said Lee was ques­tioned at least twice in the past six months in con­nec­tion with the case

Op­po­si­tion MP for Pointe-a-Pierre, David Lee, has been hit with charges of mis­be­hav­iour in pub­lic of­fice and con­spir­a­cy to de­fraud the gov­ern­ment. He is now out on $1 mil­lion bail grant­ed by a jus­tice of the peace af­ter he was ques­tioned and charged by the po­lice yes­ter­day.

Po­lice sources said Lee was ques­tioned at least twice in the past six months in con­nec­tion with the case.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial charges, some­where be­tween March 24, 2019 and May 24, 2019, Lee al­leged­ly ap­plied for and ob­tained tax ex­emp­tions in the sum of $1,416,292.65 to pur­chase a Mer­cedes Benz G63. It is al­leged he knew the ve­hi­cle was be­ing pur­chased by some­one else (who was named), know­ing that this per­son was not en­ti­tled to such ex­cep­tions. It is al­so al­leged Lee claimed to pur­chase the ve­hi­cle in the per­for­mance of his of­fi­cial du­ties, when in fact that ve­hi­cle was be­ing pur­chased by [name called] for his use and ben­e­fit.

In a re­lease yes­ter­day, the TTPS said Lee was charged by Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice in the Fi­nan­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tions Branch (FIB), Wen­dell Lu­cas, fol­low­ing ad­vice re­ceived by Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions Roger Gas­pard, SC.

Speak­ing briefly to the me­dia yes­ter­day at the In­ter­na­tion­al Wa­ter­front Com­plex, where he had sur­ren­dered to of­fi­cers of the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Bu­reau, Lee said sim­ply, “I will give de­tails over the week­end. This is PNM at its best.”

When asked why he would say that, he replied again, “I will say more lat­er.”

He then left in a wait­ing ve­hi­cle.

Lee was rep­re­sent­ed by Kan­dace Bharath-Na­hous and Alex­ia Romero. Lee, 63, of Cas­cade, Port-of-Spain, will ap­pear be­fore a Port-of-Spain Mag­is­trate on Oc­to­ber 12th, 2022, to an­swer the charges.

The UNC mean­while is stand­ing by their deputy leader and be­lieves he will be ex­on­er­at­ed.

“As usu­al, the case will roll on in the lo­cal court sys­tem for the next 20 years un­til MP Lee will be even­tu­al­ly cleared of the trumped-up charges,” UNC PRO Dr Kirk Meighoo said in a re­lease.

Like Lee, the UNC is ac­cus­ing the TTPS of con­spir­ing with the PNM.

“This is the typ­i­cal PNM play­book with com­plic­it op­er­a­tives with­in the po­lice ser­vice de­signed to em­bar­rass and de­fame,” Meighoo said.

“The UNC does not ex­pect any­thing dif­fer­ent from the cur­rent lead­er­ship of the po­lice ser­vice who seem to be work­ing very close­ly with the PNM, even open­ly in press con­fer­ences.”

The UNC al­leged the TTPS is drag­ging its feet in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to al­le­ga­tions that Rur­al De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter (then-At­tor­ney Gen­er­al) Faris Al-Rawi al­leged­ly failed to trans­fer the ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion of a Porsche which he sold to Roger Kawals­ingh, a for­mer mem­ber of the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion.

But act­ing Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Mc­Don­ald Ja­cob ig­nored the UNC ac­cu­sa­tions and yes­ter­day com­mend­ed his of­fi­cers.

“Of­fi­cers con­tin­ue in­ves­ti­ga­tions in the area of what we call white col­lar crime (through) the FIB and the ACIB,” Ja­cob said.

Asked to com­ment di­rect­ly on Lee and the UNC’s ac­cu­sa­tions Ja­cob would on­ly say, “The po­lice ser­vice is an in­de­pen­dent or­gan­i­sa­tion, and we do our in­ves­ti­ga­tion, as the ev­i­dence un­folds be­fore us. They work hand in hand with the DPP, and they got di­rec­tives from the DPP, ad­vice to go ahead and pur­sue the charges. We don’t op­er­ate in these in­stances in­de­pen­dent­ly; in that we work hand in hand with the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions.”

Calls to PNM PRO Lau­rel Leza­ma Lee Sing went unan­swered.