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Feb 22, 2017

Police and Other Investigations Must Wait for Senate Report, says Chair

There are provisions in both the Senate and House of Representatives Standing Orders which effectively prohibit premature publication of evidence by those involved in Select Committees. As we have seen, these prohibit discussion of the ongoing public hearings of the Senate Select Special Committee in any public forum even though the hearings are being broadcast via various media. But are Police or other authorities prohibited from acting on the revelations being made in the hearings? According to Committee chair Aldo Salazar, it would be premature of them to act without the final report being issued to the Senate at the close of their investigation. While that report will be available to act on, he stated, it is not the Senate’s job to lock anyone up for criminal wrongdoing.

 

Reporter

“If you are able to clarify for us there is nothing illegal if, say, the police were to choose to investigate an Immigration matter involving the fraudulent issuance of an Immigration document while the Senate probe is ongoing?”

 

Aldo Salazar

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“If you’re asking for legal advice then you may have to pay me…”

 

Reporter

“It’s not legal advice; it’s just that the Minister of Immigration himself has said that it’s not right or proper.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“I don’t wish to comment on that. I don’t wish to comment on any issue that’s happening other than what we are talking about in relation to the Senate; it’s not my place. I have my own views about what is happening in society but it’s not my place to publicly comment on them.”

 

Reporter

“Is it in your view that it would help or be counterproductive if a simultaneous criminal investigation into some of these matters that the Audit Report brings up is launched at this period or that it would not affect at all?”

 

Aldo Salazar

“I think that anything having to do with the Audit Report and the Senate inquiry itself at this point would be premature; I think we should wait until we produce the report. As you know, the Senate – a lot of people are under the misapprehension that this Senate inquiry is to put people in jail or go after people; that is not our position. We only investigate, we produce a report, that report becomes a public document, thereafter that report can be used by the Police, by the D.P.P., by the Ministries, by anybody who wants to follow up into the matters that have been reported by the Senate, so what happens after that – or if there is any investigation or any criminal inquiry or any charges, that is not a matter for the Senate; that’s a matter for those bodies which are vested with those responsibilities under our Constitution.”

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