Open letter to the DPP

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I am addressing this request for information to you in the form of an open letter in the hope of obtaining an official, public answer that would help dissipate the toxic atmosphere of doubt and suspicion which has been prevailing in the country since the revelations on the Angus Road allegedly shady property deal. I am confident that, for the benefit of our readers and that of the public at large, you will contribute to this exercise for the sake of institutional transparency and public integrity.

This saga started as a sale of property where the source of funds and the mode of payment raised a number of legal questions. It then took on a political dimension when it transpired that Pravind Jugnauth, who currently holds the office of prime minister in an election being challenged at the Supreme Court, had been or is being investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in connection with the purchase of property and possibly also for unlawful cash payments under the Financial Intelligence Anti Money Laundering Act. Ironically, this piece of legislation was enacted when he was minister! When confronted in parliament, he sought to hide behind an alleged ICAC inquiry to refuse to answer parliamentary questions. Subsequently, it emerged that only a few weeks after taking office in December 2014, the MSM government cancelled a request for information on this matter sought from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office under the Mutual Legal Assistance Scheme. The saga continued with disclosures about investigations being supposedly concluded not once but twice already in the past for lack of evidence.

As information trickles down, far from clarifying the issues, it only deepens the legal and political imbroglio. There are now far more questions that the prime minister, Former Attorney General Ravi Yerrigadoo and the ICAC have to answer in the public interest.

As Jugnauth and the speaker will not ensure that the country and the world are enlightened through parliamentary accountability and since everyone knows that not much can be expected from the ICAC and the Attorney General’s Office, I have turned to your office to help shed some light on this.

Since you adopted a bold and innovative policy of transparency and accountability, we would appreciate if your office could, for the benefit of our readers and the public at large, kindly provide us with the following information:

(a)          Whether the director general of the ICAC has, at any time since 2011, informed your office of the “conclusion” of any investigation relating to or in connection with the purchase of immoveable property situated at Angus Road, Vacoas, and submitted a report on the investigation together with all materials, information, statements and other documents obtained in the course of the investigation;

(b)          If a report has been submitted on the “conclusion” of any investigation and whether your office has provided any advice to the ICAC thereon.

(c)           In case no such report has been submitted to you, then has any investigation by the ICAC been concluded as the prime minister stated in parliament?

(d)          Will you in the exercise of your constitutional responsibilities obtain information from the ICAC about a matter pending since 2011 and about which there is a lot of public concern and which has serious repercussions on governance and on the image of our country on the global level?

(e)          Will you also please obtain information as to why the Attorney General’s Office, three weeks after a change of government, wrote to the UK authorities to say that the Mauritian government no longer wanted to pursue its request for information?

We thank you, Sir, for providing this information on a matter of public interest and in line with your policy of full transparency and public accountability.

Your faithfully,

Touria Prayag





Below is the reply of the director of public prosecutions (DPP) to the open letter sent to his office in these columns. We would like to place on record our sincere thanks for the celerity with which the matter was treated in the public interest. We received the reply below on the day following the publication of the request we made to his office. It is a major landmark in transparency and public accountability. We hope the other institutions follow suit in the public interest.

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Du jamais-vu dans l'histoire politico-criminelle et financière du pays : le Premier ministre en fonction fait face à une enquête de l'ICAC. Ne vous embarrassez plus à essayer de comprendre en cherchant tous les articles. Le scandale est simple et ici vous retrouverez tout en un clic.

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