Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi ceased to be a director of Zaman Enterprises Ltd just three weeks before it began talks to lease office space to the Government.
According to company registration documents received yesterday, Al-Rawi ceased to be a director of Zaman Enterprises on November 8, 2018 and was replaced by his relative Abraham Al-Rawi.
Three weeks later, Al-Rawi's wife, Mona Nahous and the Government re-opened discussions about leasing the office space for three years.
A letter signed by Mona Nahous on November 30, 2018, referenced the "re-opened" negotiations to move the Ministry of Labour to No 3 Alexandra Street, St Clair.
The letterhead on that document carried the name Zaman Enterprises Ltd.
There is no date given as to when the negotiations first started between the Government and the AG's wife.
"Whilst we are amenable to giving you a reduction of rent, we are of the view that your offer of $543,044.32 is significantly below market rate," Nahous said in that letter.
She countered the Government's offer with a price of $575,000 per month instead.
Documents were sent to the media yesterday by the Opposition United National Congress to support campaign platform claims by Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at a Monday Night Forum meeting in Tunapuna.
In that meeting, she raised the issue of millions of dollars paid to lease office space from companies linked to Al-Rawi's family and questioned whether there was not a conflict of interest on the AG's part.
Al-Rawi yesterday did not deny his family owns the property Persad-Bissessar highlighted but said he recused himself from all matters linked to any rental deal with the Government, adding to that the company was involved in talks on the lease with both the People's Partnership and the People's National Movement governments.
According to another letter received by the media yesterday, the office the Chief Personnel Officer was also negotiating a move to the office space at No. 3 Alexandra Street.
In the cache of documents, a note for Cabinet dated February 12, 2019, referenced the rental of an office building at No. 3 Alexandra Street, St Clair from Zaman Enterprises Ltd to accommodate the Personnel Department for a three-year period.
It lists the directors of Zaman Enterprises as Mona Nahous and Abraham Al-Rawi.
In another Cabinet Note dated February 14, 2019, Cabinet agreed to pay Nahous $575,000 per month for three years.
According to the documents, back in December 2018, the CPO’s office wrote to the Ministry of Public Administration referencing a conversation with Minister Marlene McDonald about the property at No. 3 Alexandra Place.
In another letter, Nazem Nahous accepted the Government's proposal of $600,000 (Vat Exclusive) for the rental of space at the same building.
Reporter: Renuka Singh