The audit of the Registry after the May 21 resignation of Registrar of the High Court Tamara Gibson-Marks “raises questions which are required to be followed up and answered,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told a press conference today (Monday).
Gonsalves said he received a copy of the report on Wednesday, and was informed that copies were also given to Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan, acting Commissioner of Police Ronald Hadaway, and Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams.
Gonsalves said he does not want to go into the details of the report, noting that it was in the hands of the relevant state authorities.
“But knowing how institutions of the state work, I would expect that those institutions would follow up in relation to matters raised in the report,” he said.
“I don’t want to interpose myself, and I am careful with my words, because I don’t want it to appear as though I am putting pressure on anybody in relation to anything with this matter,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Legal Affairs.
“I expect all of the institutions of the state to work, and let those institutions independently make a determination as to what goes forward. I am particularly careful about what I am saying because there is already a court process underway,” he further said.
Jones-Morgan asked Gibson-Marks to resign during a 30-minute meeting on May 21.
Since then the Attorney General has applied to the court asking that the former registrar show cause why she should not be disbarred or disciplined.
There have been reports that some EC$300,000 from an account that Gibson-Marks held in trust was unaccounted for.
Reports say that some EC$130,000 was deposited into the account after Gibson-Marks’ resignation.
A usually reliable source told I-Witness News on Monday that the Auditor General’s report has asked for an explanation regarding more than EC$100,000 that is unaccounted for, and the apparent commingling of monies in accounts at St. Vincent Co-operative Bank and Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The source said that only Gibson-Marks can provide answers to those question.
Gonsalves said it is widely known that the Attorney General has applied for Gibson Marks to answer as to why she should not be disbarred or disciplined.
“I have to be careful that, as a person of public importance, that I don’t say anything that would jeopardise that proceeding,” he said in reference to the disbarment proceeding, which is scheduled to be heard in court in early September.
“Similarly, being aware of the contents of the report, I myself, as a person of public importance, would hold the view that other proceedings may arise and I don’t want to say anything which may prejudice in anyway, any other proceedings which may arise out of the facts,” said Gonsalves, who practised law for more than 25 year before becoming Prime Minister in 2001.
“There are some people who may wish me to say more than that. But I am mindful of my position; I am mindful of what the law is…” he further said.
“Could you imagine if I say anything adverse, one way or the other, whether for the prosecution of the defence in this particular matter, or for any prospective prosecution or defence in this matter? The whole country will hear it. So I have to be very careful,” Gonsalves said.
He said that both the Attorney General and the acting police chief have told him that they have read the report and are studying it carefully and making the requisite consultations with the other authority centres.
“I had said from the beginning when persons are raising all sort of things and they are going on this report and that report, I said let us get all the facts and let the institutions of state do their work.
“Well, the substantive Commissioner of Police, who is on holidays, Mr. Michael Charles, I read when the press had asked him what is happening, he said he is awaiting the report of the Director of Audit. Well, that report is now available,” Gonsalves said.
“So one other institution of state, that is to say, the Director of Audit, has reported. It is not in my place to speak about the details of the report because am not interposing myself in the business and say what further questions should be asked or not asked. All I am saying is that the institutions of state must work,” he said.
“I have read the report very carefully and I expect the institutions of state, all the relevant institutions of state, to follow through with their work,” Gonsalves said.
Gibson-Marks, who is married to former Unity Labour Party senator, lawyer Ronald “Ronnie” Marks, left St. Vincent for St. Lucia, where she was born, about 90 minutes after her resignation.
I-Witness News is not aware that she has returned to St. Vincent and the Grenadines since.
Gonsalves said the government has confirmed that Gibson-Marks was served notice of the pending disbarment proceedings.