Fired government minister slapped with several charges, to appear in court

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CANA is reporting that dismissed minister of public administration, Marlene McDonald is expected to appear in court on Monday after the Office of the Director of Public prosecution (DPP) gave instructions for her  and four others to be charged with several offences of conspiracy to defraud.

A police statement said that apart from McDonald, the others facing the charges are her husband, Michael Carew, Victor McEachrane, Wayne Anthony and Edgar Zephrine.

“They are all being charged with several offences to defraud the government, and offences of money laundering. However, McDonald will face offences of misbehaviour in public office,” the police statement said.

DPP Senior Counsel Roger Gaspard told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that he had advised the police to lay the charges against the five.

McDonald and her husband were detained by police last Thursday and the police statement noted that the others were arrested over the weekend.

“These investigations into allegations of corruption committed during the period 2008 and 2009 commenced in 2016…and these accused are expected to appear before the Port of Spain Magistrate’s Court on Monday, August 12, 2019,” the police statement added.

Earlier, a government statement said that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley had asked President Paula Mae Weekes to relieve McDonald of her ministerial portfolio after he had been informed of the advice given by the DPP.

This is the third time since the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) came to power in 2015 that McDonald, a deputy leader of the party, has been sacked from the Cabinet.

She was sacked as Minister of Housing and Urban Development on 17 March 2016 while being the subject of an Integrity Commission investigation into her role in State payments to the Calabash Foundation, which is headed by Carew.

On July 2, 2017 McDonald was fired again after she turned up for her swearing-in ceremony as Minister of Public Utilities, just two days earlier, with alleged gangster Cedric Burke.

McDonald was first elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Port-of-Spain South on 5 November 2007, at which time she was appointed Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs.

The charges against McDonald arose from the payments made to the Calabash Foundation.

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