PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — A police investigation has begun in Trinidad and Tobago into the controversial housing allowance paid to President Anthony Carmona, who assumed office on March 18, 2013.
However, according to acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, this is not yet a criminal investigation, the Trinidad Guardian reported.
The investigation into the matter is currently being handled by the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau, Williams said.
The investigation comes in response to four letters sent by attorney Justin Phelps on behalf of his client Rhoda Bharath to the commissioner of police calling for the housing allowance paid to Carmona to be probed.
Bharath, a university lecturer, has made it her mission to get the bottom of the matter.
It was revealed that Carmona received a tax-free housing allowance of $28,000 (US$4,170) a month from July 2013 to May 2015 despite also being provided with state accommodation. The monthly allowance amounted to some $644,000 (US$95,000).
On January 1, the Sunday Guardian reported that the Salaries Review Commission (SRC) distanced itself from Carmona’s housing allowance.
Apart from the housing allowance, Phelps also raised the issue of threats and harassment to Bharath.
Contacted on Saturday, Williams explained that the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau has made a “preliminary assessment” of the matter and has since written the chief personnel officer.
“A criminal investigation has not been launched into that matter. However, the Anti-Corruption Investigation Bureau by making a preliminary assessment of what has been sent has written the Office of the Chief Personnel Officer so that they can verify some information from the CPO,” he said.