Nimrod: ‘ I have never heard anything about request for tape’
“It was just a matter of just a frolic to me”.
That’s how Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod felt when asked by Barbadian jurist, Dr. Richard Cheltenham to use his office to try and obtain a controversial video-tape showing Grenada Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell allegedly receiving a bribe of US$500, 000.00 from international con-man, Eric Resteiner in June 2000.
The money was allegedly handed over by Resteiner in a briefcase at his luxury villa in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The story was broken by Miami-based investigative journalist, David Marchant who claimed that he first heard about the incident from Resteiner’s former Chief of Security, Timothy Bass who said that he had video-taped the transaction.
Speculation is rife that the alleged video-tape has been lodged in a U.S court in Boston where Resteiner is awaiting sentence on multiple fraud charges.
Nimrod made his controversial comment on the issue in an interview with independent journalist, George Grant, the host of the popular “Sunday with George Grant” that is heard on Sunday mornings on a local FM radio station.
The comment sparked a heated debate in Parliament between government and opposition members who were trying to raise the Switzerland issue in the House of Representatives much to the annoyance of house speaker, Lawrence Joseph.
Opposition M.P for the Town of St. George, Peter David was leading the onslaught when the Speaker asked him to refrain from going deeply into the matter since he considered it to be sub-judice.
After several minutes of heated debate, the seven-member opposition team walked out of Parliament and later called a press conference accusing the Speaker of trying to protect the government side.
David himself charged that Nimrod’s own statement on the issue amounted to an attempt by him to obstruct justice in the matter.
“If this is not obstruction of the Commission of Inquiry in the conduct of its investigation I don't know what is” Obviously Larry Joseph understands the implications
that is why he does not want it in the record”, he said.
“In my view Nimrod is not fit to be the AG and the GG (Governor-General) must do something about the obstruction of his inquiry”, he added.
As a public service, GRENADA TODAY has decided to publish the transcript of the brief interview between Minister Nimrod and George Grant:
George Grant: Last week there was an article which appeared in OffShore Alert, David Marchant about the briefcase issue and in it apparently Mr. Cheltenham, Sir Cheltenham, informed Mr. Marchant that he had asked you to proceed to obtain copy of the video tape, this very famous video tape of the Prime Minister allegedly receiving a bribe, and you declined to make that effort to obtain the tape, could you talk a bit about that.
Minister Elvin Nimrod: Well first of all that is not true about (the) tape, I have never heard anything about request for tape.
I think I can remember, I don't know whether it was in the form of a letter or a conversation, it might be a letter from Mr. Cheltenham asking to interview this gentleman, and I think my response was of course we had the inquiry here, evidence were taken, it seems as though that evidence here had been exhausted and that the Government had already expended almost a million dollars on this inquiry and there is nothing there, so we thought, actually, I, my own opinion, it was just a matter of just a frolic to me because to just say you want to go to find somebody that you don't even know what they want to interview them I do not think that make any sense, but I would have to get the letter because I did write him back.
He did write a letter to me and I wrote him back. What I say is just the substance I think in a nutshell but I will have to get the letter and then I will communicate with you further on that."