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Clarification provided on Attorney General questions
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Governor's Office responds to the Premier's challenge.
The Attorney General (AG) Huw Shepheard was appointed properly in line with the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Constitution. He has done a good job since 2010, and he provides essential continuity until 2016.
The questions asked by the Premier and Minister of Finance of the AG relate only to the investigations associated with the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) and Civil Recovery. The appropriate information requested will be provided according to the timetable laid out by the then Acting AG, Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles. Clearly, the information must be vetted to ensure that it does not inadvertently damage ongoing legal cases – it would be wholly inappropriate for this to happen. The AG’s expenditure is not unchecked.
Comments made today indicate that there is confusion over cases that are being prosecuted by the TCI authorities, with those that are being defended by Chambers. These must be separated out. For example, Trade Wind Industries brought a $100m action against the TCI Government, with the people’s and the administration’s interests defended by the AG.
Were Huw Shepheard to be removed from office (and no evidence of misconduct or incompetence has been provided), both the SIPT (under the Director of Public Prosecutions) and Civil recovery programmes would clearly continue. Indeed, it is in the TCI taxpayers’ interests to do so, for example:
SIPT activity to date:
There are 10 accused, including former PNP ministers and a party leader, who will face a plea and direction hearing on 6 January 2014, and trial on 7 July 2014
Richard Padgett has pled guilty and will be sentenced on 13 January 2014
Three TCI lawyers have been charged and will face pleas and direction hearings on 1 and 8 November 2013
A further three persons were charged but subsequently entered into civil recovery orders, which saw cash and assets returned to the TCI taxpayer
The SIPT has recovered nearly $19.25m in cash and assets for the TCI; the UK met almost all of the costs of the SIPT in 2010-11 and 2011-12
An extradition request has been made to Brazil to return Michael Misick to TCI to stand trial
Civil recovery activity to date:
More than 60 cases progressed, recovering $20.5m in cash and 3,000 acres (worth $100m+) for a cost of $13m
The money and land recovered will now be used for the long term benefit of the TCI taxpayer