Special Reserve Police Officer Jitnarine Hardeen is denying outright that it is his voice heard on a recording played for the media by Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader Jack Warner yesterday. Hardeen issued a legal letter to Warner yesterday threatening action.
“There is no truth in any of these allegations nor the contents of any of your statements, nor the contents of the tape or tapes,” Hardeen said through his lawyer.
Hardeen, who was the retained driver for former minister of social development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, yesterday countered Warner’s damning recording of telephone conversations, alleging that Warner in fact offered him some $250,000 to agree that the voice on tape was his.
In a three-page legal letter, Hardeen’s attorney, Dennis Rampersad, picked apart Warner’s tape, denying every bit of the alleged conversation between Hardeen and Warner.
Hardeen, through his lawyer, confirmed he has been in contact with Warner but said it was Warner who “tried to influence him to unlawfully and illegally accept that he is the voice on these tapes and the provider of the information thereon.”
“In fact, you would recall that you offered my client the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to be part of your nefarious and sinister conspiracy to defame innocent persons. My client has consistently refused to be part of any untrue plot to defame innocent persons,” the letter stated.
The letter added that at Warner’s request, Hardeen was interviewed by Frederick John.
“And you are aware that he confirmed officially that he was not the voice on the tape and that the contents of any tape has nothing to do with my client,” the letter stated.
On one of the recordings played by Warner, the voice claims to have collected as much as $3 million as kickbacks for contracts awarded through Ramadharsingh’s former ministry.
“My client denies that he ever picked up any money from anyone for any illicit purposes. He has never received $3,000,000 from anyone or at all,” Hardeen said through his lawyer.
Hardeen also denied any knowledge of a relationship between Kristyan Gokool and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, as alleged on the recordings played by Warner.
“My client is of the view that your statements are maliciously untrue and calculated to bring him into disrepute, odium and contempt among right thinking members of society,” the lawyer said.
“Your statements are calculated to defame my client and wrongfully accuse him of being involved in criminal matters.
“My client confirms that he has no knowledge of what is on the tapes in your possession or that the telephone number that you have mentioned publicly is his or belongs to him,” he added.
Ramadharsingh is also threatening legal action against TV6 for airing snippets of the same tapes played by Warner.
In a statement yesterday, he said, “I listened with amazement at the defamatory statement made on TV6’s television report entitled “The Hardeen Expose” aired on Monday 22nd June, 2015. I have expressed my horror that such an untrue statement was made.
“While I understand the need for free press, it must be a free and responsible press. Also, I have taken note that no one exercised the simple courtesy of a call for a comment on this matter.
“It is remarkable and I hope that they can prove that I was involved in bribing someone or got someone to change a statement or make a statement that was false. I have always supported the truth but it appears that the truth in this matter will emerge in the courts, as clearly the need for financial gain trumps professionalism and responsible journalism.”
Both Ramadharsingh and Hardeen are represented by the same attorney and it was Ramadharsingh’s secretary who issued Hardeen’s legal letter to the media last night.
When the T&T Guardian contacted Hardeen to find out the connection between the two, Hardeen quickly disconnected the call and refused to respond to subsequent attempts to reach him.
In a text exchange with Warner yesterday, the former national security minister called on Hardeen to sue him if any of the information he released was untrue.
“Well let them sue me,” Warner said.
Warner has been given 24 hours to respond to the legal letter.