cameramen rush to get footage of PNM chairman Franklyn Khan
as he leaves Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court after his appearance
on bribery charges yesterday.
Photo: Shirley Bahadur
PNM chairman Franklin Khan appeared before senior magistrate
Lianne Lee Kim yesterday charged with six counts of misbehaviour
in public office.
Khan, who was not called upon to plead since the charges
were laid indictably, was escorted to the Port-of-Spain
Magistrates Court by Fraud Squad officers after surrendering
to the police at around 9 am with his attorney Gilbert Peterson,
SC, at the Park and Richmond Street headquarters.
He was granted $250,000 bail to cover the six bribery charges.
Unlike previous occasions, when arrested politicians entered
the court via the prisoners entrance, Khan managed
to avoid media personnel eagerly awaiting his arrival there.
Khan, who resigned as Works and Transport Minister earlier
this year, was instead ushered into the Duke Street entrance
used by some of the courts magistrates.
This annoyed some court police officers who said they viewed
Khan as any ordinary man who had been charged.
is not fair. He should have been brought through the entrance
used by prisoners, an angry officer said.
have had several politicians appear in this court, and when
they make their first appearance, they are escorted through
the entrance the prisoners use.
A few minutes after he was processed, Khan was escorted
to the 4A courts prisoners dock at 10.40 am, where
he sat. His trademark smile was nowhere in sight as he awaited
the arrival of Lee Kim. Two of Khans relatives sat
in the public gallery among media personnel.
As Khan waited, a man entered the courtroom, looked and
pointed at him and said: Remember what happen to Dhanraj;
he get lock up.
The man, referring to former UNC local government minister
Dhanraj Singh who was acquitted of a murder charge last
year, then sat at the back of the court, looking at Khan
None of Khans parliamentary colleagues was present
at his hearing.
At 11.07 am, Lee Kim entered and indicated for Khan to approach
Smiling, Khan stood before her and listened as the charges
accusing him of misconduct in public office by corruptly
accepting $120,500 from PNM councillor Dansam Dhansook were
The offences are alleged to have occurred between February
3 and July 8, 2003.
After the third charge was read, Khans smile disappeared
and, at times, he closed his eyes and stood with his hands
clasped in front of him.
Peterson told the court that he and Hayden St Clair Douglas
represented Khan, while Lee Kim was informed by court prosecutor
Sgt Prospect that no state attorney was present.
However, sources said that the State has retained the services
of a British Queens Counsel who will be present at
the next hearing.
Peterson told the court that bail had already been set by
the clerk of the peace, while Prospect said she had no objections
to bail since Khan had nothing recorded against him.
Lee Kim then adjourned the matter to December 8, and she
transferred the matter to the San Fernando First Magistrates
Khan then exitedthrough the courts main entrance.
favours for Khan - AG
General John Jeremie has denied claims made by Opposition
senators Wade Mark and Robin Montano that there was favourable
treatment meted out to PNM chairman Franklin Khan in comparison
to former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday.
In a press release from the Office of the Attorney General,
Jeremie said: Both Mark and Montano would be aware
that deliberations or investigations of the Integrity Commission
are by law secret, and it would be contrary to law for the
Commission to respond to these statements or to the status
of any other investigation that may be ongoing.
Jeremie was responding to statements made by Mark during
a press conference at the Red House, Port-of-Spain, on Tuesday.
Mark compared the action to the swiftness of Pandays
arrest on his failure to declare assets in a London bank
Jeremie also dismissed claims that Director of Public Prosecutions
Geoffrey Henderson took a longer period in preferring charges
against Khan than he did against Panday.
records would show that in the case of Mr Panday, the Integrity
Commission wrote the DPP on July 18, 2002, disclosing a
bundle of documents and commenting that there were reasonable
grounds for suspecting that offences were committed under
the 1987 Integrity in Public Life Act.
Jeremie further added that Panday was not charged until
September 18, 2002.
He also noted that Khans report to the Integrity Commission
was submitted to Henderson on October 20 and the charges
were laid on November 23, 2005.
Adding that corruption investigations take a long
time, sometimes years, to be completed, Jeremie said
there are active investigations now afoot, which commenced
five and six years ago.