News

Court reserves judgement in Trafigura case

Paul Henry

Tuesday, October 02, 2012    

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JUDGEMENT has been reserved in the challenge brought by the Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other People's National Party (PNP) officials against a ruling which they say compels them to give witness statements, in open court, regarding the Trafigura probe by Dutch authorities.

The hearing was wrapped up yesterday and judgement reserved by the Constitution Court without a specific date.

Simpson Miller, PNP Chairman Robert Pickersgill, Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell, Colin Campbell, and businessman Norton Hinds have been contending that their constitutional rights would be breached if compelled to give statement, in light of the fact that they have been considered suspects.

However, the prosecution, which represents the Dutch authorities probing the case of bribery regarding the oil firm Trafigura Beheer BV, argued that there is no constitutional rights to be breached as the five are not suspects, among other things.

If the court rules against the five they will have to answer questions by Dutch authorities in open court. Last year the five obtained an order from the Court of Appeal that halted the questioning, pending the outcome of the constitutional matter.

The order granted by Justice Roy Anderson in 2010, which compel the five to give the statements at the Supreme Court, was sought by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of the Dutch authorities after they reportedly refused to answer the questions in relation to the Trafigura $31-million donation to the PNP.

The PNP had said the money was a donation, but Trafigura claimed that the money was payment on a commercial agreement.

Campbell resigned his post as information minister and general secretary of the PNP when the Trafigura scandal broke in 2006.

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