Ish and Steve to be extradited to the US

The men, who were UNC financiers, face a total of 95 charges relating to the construction of the controversial $1.6 billion Piarco Airport Terminal building.

The decision by the AG came following recommendations for the extraditions by both the US Government and this country’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard.

On September 23, the AG received a list of recommendations from the US Government, which had clearly stated reasons why the two men should face trial in that country.

Six days later, Gaspard also sent his advice to the AG which effectively paved the way for the extraditions of Ferguson and Galbaransingh.

Attorneys for the two men are expected to visit them at the Golden Grove Prison in Arouca today to inform them of Ramlogan’s decision.

The People’s Partnership Government had come under fire from several quarters for its perceived hesitance in decisively addressing the longstanding matter.

Ramlogan, who is constitutionally charged with the responsibility and statutory duty to decide extradition requests, had said, though, that the matter was delicate and could not be rushed.

Sources yesterday revealed that the extradition could take place as early as today.

The two men were incarcerated following a decision by then acting Police Commissioner James Philbert to take them into custody and place at the Golden Grove Prison on grounds that the terms and conditions of their bail had come to an end.

Yesterday, in a brief statement issued by the AG, he noted that the allegations against both Ferguson and Galbaransingh were “complex and serious.”

“The Chief Magistrate has found that there is evidence supporting a prima facie case against them both on the conduct alleged in the American request. “That decision has been upheld by our High Court and Court of Appeal and the Privy Council dismissed an application to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision,” the AG said in the release.

Ramlogan said both the US and Trinidad and Tobago had carried out extensive investigations into the alleged criminal conduct of Ferguson and Galbaransingh.

“The alleged criminal conduct has affected and may have occurred in both the United States of America and Trinidad and Tobago. Whilst all countries have a right to try persons accused of conduct that affects their individual country, there is a discretionary power in the AG to extradite accused persons in certain circumstances in the interest of justice,” he said.

Extensive written representations were submitted to the AG, at his request, on behalf of the two accused. Further representations were then solicited from the US government and the DPP, the statement said.

It added that the last set of representations were received from the DPP on September 29, 2010 “and there has hence been no delay by the AG in arriving at a decision in this matter.”

The release said: “The AG, having carefully considered all the representations submitted to him in this extradition matter, has decided that the USA is the more appropriate and convenient forum for these charges.

“He is convinced that Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh will receive a fair trial in the United States of America and the interest of justice is best served by their extradition to the USA.

It is important that these serious allegations be tried as soon as possible. In all the circumstances the AG has therefore decided that it is right that they be tried in the United States of America where they will be either acquitted or convicted,” it added.

Ferguson and Galbaransingh were among several former public officials who were charged in 2002 with various offences, including conspiracy to defraud the Government of TT, arising out of the construction of the Piarco Airport Terminal building.


"Ish and Steve to be extradited to the US"

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