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Pinnock defends CMU's decision to hire attorney over corruption probe

Professor Fritz Pinnock, responding to questions from PAAC member Phillip Paulwell; PAAC member Heroi Clarke; Dr Peter Phillips
 
Professor Fritz Pinnock, President of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), has defended the decision to hire attorneys to represent the CMU in the corruption probe by the Financial Investigation Division (FID).
 
Attorney Hugh Wildman confirmed to the Gleaner newspaper that he has been retained by the CMU and a senior employee to challenge court orders obtained by the FID.
 
During Wednesday's sitting of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), Professor Pinnock said procedures were not followed by the FID in seeking to obtain documents. 
 
"It's not that we don't want to hand over the documents, but the process was irregular in which it was done... We're challenging the procedural aspect, it's not about the documents," he insisted.  
 
Professor Pinnock said there was no basis for the FID to go to court for an order to obtain documents from the CMU "because we had supplied all that the FID had requested of us but they choose to go to the court to request documents, most of which they would've already had in their possession." 
 
Abusing technocrats 
 
Meanwhile, government member of the PAAC, Heroi Clarke accused his opposition colleagues of abusing the technocrats who appeared before the committee. He pointed to Acting Chairman Mikael Phillips's reference to Mr. Pinnock as "a liar", arguing that "it is unfair to the technocrats that comes (sic) here each day."
 
Hand over documents  
 
The Parliamentary Opposition has called for Prime Minister Andrew Holness to immediately instruct the administration of the Caribbean Maritime University to hand over requested documents to the Financial Investigations Division.  
 
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips said Mr. Holness should order the university to stop impeding the investigation regarding former Education Minister Ruel Reid. 
 
"The Prime Minister has appointed himself as the Minister of Education and he should not have one part of his government, for which he is responsible, refusing to cooperate with the police and the FID in their investigations. I am calling up on him to immediately instruct the staff and the board at the Caribbean Maritime University to comply fully with all the requests of the police," Dr. Phillips urged,  adding that the matter "has very disturbing implications for the state of governance in Jamaica."
 


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