Gov't legal fees 42.3% less than under UNC, AG says
Expenditure on legal fees under the present Government is 42.3 percent less year-on-year than under the previous United National Congress (UNC) led administration.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs on Friday, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi compared expenditure on legal fees under the two administrations in response to what he said were false publications being shared across social media, largely by UNC activists.
He said published data reveals that under the UNC Administration, the combined expenditure for the period 2010 to 2015 inclusive for the Ministry of Attorney General, the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Ministry of Justice was $4.585 billion. Expenditure for the same period, for the Ministry of the Attorney General only, was $1.222 billion.
Al-Rawi noted that under the present Government, the combined expenditure for the period 2015 to 2019 for the combined Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs (i.e. Ministry of Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs and absorbed aspects of Ministry of Justice) altogether is $1.014 Billion.
Under the UNC, he continued, the expenditure on legal fees at the Ministry of the Attorney General was $444,444,197.16.
He noted that there were accumulated debts left behind by the UNC at the Ministry of the Attorney General amounting to $137,128.742.16.
"The whole of UNC Government expenditure on legal fees largely managed by its Attorneys General amounted to $1.6 billion approximately inclusive of unpaid debts and expenses at the Ministry of the Attorney General."
But, under the present Government, expenditure on legal fees has been less than half of that, amounting to $224,297,888.48.
Al-Rawi said this figure includes $140,544,281.74 spent on legal fees for the Director of Public Prosecutions and $83,753,606.74 spent on legal fees for the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs which has been applied between liquidation of arrears and current expenses.
Based on the year-on-year comparison of expenditure on legal fees at the Ministry of the Attorney General, he said that under the UNC administration the average annual expenditure on legal fees was $104,588,832.32 whilst under the current Government it is $44,859,577.69, making it 42.3 percent lower, year on year on average.
Al-Rawi revealed that the Ministry has referred certain matters to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration following a comprehensive value-for-money audit on all expenditure.
The matters were referred to the relevant authorities for consideration and "such action as they may in their respective constitutionally independently discretions consider appropriate".