Martin Joseph: I did not authorise wiretapping

In a release issued yesterday, Joseph noted, “I wish to categorically state that the Director Agency (SIA) did report to me as Minister of National Security.

“However, as Minister of National Security I never authorised the wiretapping of any citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.

“As minister my responsibility among others was policy formulation and implementation and the coordination among the various divisions of the ministry.”

He noted that in the same way that he could not and did not direct the Commissioner of Police on who to arrest, he could not direct the director of the SIA on who to focus the intelligence gathering operations.

“Like most citizens I, too, was shocked by the revelations of the Prime Minister in the Parliament on Friday. I am surprised that the alleged operations were taking place, and look forward to clarification about them.”

Joseph added that as minister he was aware that various operations of the ministry needed to be more effectively monitored and coordinated and it was for that reason that Cabinet approval was obtained for the team led by retired Major General Ross to review and recommend the improvements to the security apparatus of the State. These recommendations were approved, and were in the process of being implemented when the change of government occurred on May 24.

He also revealed the SIA had made valuable contributions not only to the security of the State, but to the region, and had partnered with similar international organisations and agencies in the fight against drugs and transnational crime.

“This could have been only achieved as a result of dedication, commitment and hard work of its employees over the years.”

Last week, Government revealed that it had information that the SIA was secretly wiretapping known public officials, and Clement was dismissed from the unit.

Newsday understands that a file is being prepared by a team of lawyers, which will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for his directions in the matter involving the wiretapping of hundreds of persons by the SIA.

Head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Investigations (ACIB) Senior Superintendent Solomon Koon Koon yesterday said his officers, who were part of the October 23 raid carried out with the Special Branch at the SIA’s office in Port-of-Spain, where $5.9 million in cash and documents were found, continue to work round-the-clock to bring closure to this investigation.


"Martin Joseph: I did not authorise wiretapping"

More in this section