Attorney General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin has declined comment in a multi-million dollar investigation into funds missing from the National Energy Company of Trinidad.
Last Friday, The Trinidad Express reported the National Energy Company (NEC) had confirmed that the Fraud Squad, the Financial Intelligence Unit and Ministry of Energy were investigating three fraudulent wire transfers, amounting to $60 million TT, which were allegedly sent to Steadroy Benjamin and Co law firm in Antigua, a bank in Boston, and one in Dubai.
The money reportedly disappeared from the bank account of the state – owned National Energy Corporation in 2011.
But the AG told the Trinidad Express, on April 29, although the firm’s name appears as receiving US$4,633,717 from NEC, this transaction never occurred.
Another Trinidad & Tobago paper, The Guardian, which also reported on the alleged fraud , said the NEC confirmed an independent internal investigation had found that the wire transfers were “fraudulently prepared.”
“To date, 58 per cent of the money has been recovered from the recipient banks in Boston and Antigua, and we are assiduously pursuing the recovery of the outstanding 42 per cent which is being held by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, where the courts have convicted the recipient,” the NEC release said.
Benjamin, who has turned the reins of the law firm over to his son since becoming attorney general, said his son was acting on behalf of a client from T&T who was interested in purchasing land in Antigua.
Documents provided to OBSERVER media by Benjamin’s firm, show that negotiations had taken place with an official from the Trinidad Energy Company over the sale of eight acres of land at Hatton Estate.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)