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Probe to end soon

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Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi expects the probe of the Sport Ministry‘s controversial $150,000 settlement to a former employee to be concluded “quite imminently.”

Al-Rawi gave the update in the Senate yesterday where he also said there’s no non-disclosure agreement “per se” on the settlement.

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Al-Rawi was responding to UNC Senator Wade Mark’s queries on the matter.

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In March, then Sport Minister Darryl Smith was spotlighted after UNC MP Barry Padarath queried a $150,000 settlement to a former ministry employee.

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Details from Government on the issue were limited save that it arose from a dispute between the employee (Carrie Ann Moreau) the ministry and the Chief Personnel Officer.

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However, a witness statement on the matter which subsequently surfaced indicated allegations of sexual harassment and “unwanted attentions” from Smith

After that, in April, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley shifted Smith from the Sport Ministry to being a Minister in Housing

Within 24 hours of that, however, Rowley removed Smith from Housing altogether on the basis of “new information.” Rowley appointed a team headed by Jackie Wilson to “thoroughly review the circumstances surrounding the dismissal and payment of compensation to Moreau

Rowley called for lifting of any non-disclosure arrangement in the settlement

Yesterday, Al-Rawi said it was expected the report will be delivered, “…in the not too distant future… “I expect it quite imminently,” he said

Replying to Mark’s respective questions, Al-Rawi said by virtue of the fact the former employee was the former personal secretary to the Sport Minister, it was expected the minister would have had knowledge that the employee had filed a trade dispute citing wrongful termination against the ministry

He said there wasn’t a “complaint” filed by the former employee, but a trade dispute and documents from the trade union involved cited “wrongful termination.”

On Mark’s query of the circumstances that led to a non-disclosure agreement in the settlement matters, Al-Rawi said, “The matter dealt with the termination of an employee of the ministry for non performance

This then led to the trade dispute.”

“It should be noted that the advice of the Attorney General was not sought prior to the matter and there is no non-disclosure agreement per se. However, the parties-employee and the ministry- executed what is referred to a settlement agreement for release and discharge which was settled by their respective legal representatives.”

Saying the advice of his office wasn’t sought-which was something “which will come out in due course”

Al-Rawi added: “It’s not uncommon for matters to not come to the Attorney General

I issued a circular to my office that matters to be treated with by consent must have approval by the Attorney General.”

THE FACTS

At a March 28 sitting when UNC MP Barry Padarath asked, with respect to the legal advice that was provided, why was a non -disclosure agreement included in the settlement , Stuart Young (Minister in AG’s Ministry and OPM) said, “Any lawyer who has practised in the area of litigation would know that when you are settling a matter there are two documents that you always try to have executed, a release and discharge and a non-disclosure agreement. “

On further queries from Padarath on the rank of Sport Ministry, official against whom a claim was brought which resulted in the settlement of $150,000 of taxpayers’ money under a trade of dispute, Al- Rawi had replied on the absent Sport Minister‘s behalf saying: “This matter is the subject of a release and discharge agreement which includes a confidentiality matter. This is standard where there is no admission of liability.”

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