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.