by Derek Achong (Trinidad Guardian) A third panel of the Court of Appeal will have to weigh in on a procedural appeal over the future of a multi-million dollar cartel case over contracts awarded by the Estate Management and Business Development Company Ltd (EMBD) in the run-up to the 2015 general election.
Delivering a decision yesterday afternoon, Appellate Judge Maria Wilson maintained her position that she should recuse herself from the case as her brother Fulton served as a member of EMBD’s Board between 2015 and 2021.
Reiterating what she announced during a previous hearing on Monday, Justice Wilson claimed that while she could act impartially in the appeal she still had to step down based on public perception of her brother’s link to the state board.
Justice Wilson’s decision means that a new panel has to be assigned to determine the appeal. A case management conference before the new panel is expected to take place next week.
The substantive lawsuit centres around 12 contracts for the rehabilitation of roads and infrastructure, which were granted to five contractors before the September 2015 general election.
Contractors TN Ramnauth, Mootilal Ramhit and Sons Contracting Ltd (Ramhit), and Kall Company Ltd (Kallco) initiated the proceedings against the state-owned special purpose company for the almost $200 million balance owed on their respective contracts.