Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s main legal advisor, Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan, has responded to a decision by the Integrity in Public Office Commission (IPO) to investigate whether as Cabinet Chairman, Prime Minister Skerrit used his official influence to secure concessions for a reported business venture in Blaircourt Property Development Ltd.
Allegations are that the Prime Minister has an ownership interest in the property.
Astaphan explained in a statement that a number of queries questions, issues and answers have been identified which needs to be addressed.
“There appears to be some inconsistency in the ruling and in the findings, particularly in relation to conclusion one, which says the IPO had no jurisdiction to make determinations of criminal activity and it seems by inference had no reasons to believe that there was evidence to support the allegation that the Prime Minister owned or was in occupation of the villas,” Astaphan argued.
He continued, “There was a second complaint which was thrown out and the third complain is whether the Prime Minister used his official influence to secure concessions for a business venture raises critical questions as to how it is possible for there to be such an investigation or such a kind without there first being a previous finding as to whether or not the Prime Minister had in fact an interest in the company.”
Astaphan said the PM’s lawyers will have to reconcile that with provisions of the Act and the Code of Conduct, “but it appears at a glance that the findings and the conclusion seems irreconcilable with the provisions with the IPO Act”.
Astaphan pointed out, “We are not going to criticize neither the IPO nor the constitution of the IPO but having reviewed, we have serious questions on the information relied on which was submitted to them by the complainant. We have questions about the reasoning of the IPO.”
He is also concerned about the whole history of the application for concessions by Blaircourt.