Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney, has issued a statement in which he has “categorically” denied all claims of misconduct on the part of a senior police officer surrounding the ongoing investigations involving Indian national, Mehul Choksi.
The commissioner’s statement is in response to an article written by internet blogger, Kenneth Rijock, and published on the website belonging to The Economic Times of India on 13th January 2023.
In the article, Rijock made damning allegations against a senior member of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda (RPFAB), Inspector Adonis Henry, and a senior magistrate, Conliffe Clarke.
Commissioner Rodney said, “It is most unfortunate that Mr Kenneth Rijock, on his internet blog, made several false statements, concerning the Antigua and Barbuda Police Force in relation to Mr Mehul Choksi without ascertaining the facts.
“The entire blog is false with inadequate or no research of the facts and has a malicious purpose and ought not to have been posted.”
The commissioner said RPFAB has no interest in assisting Choksi in avoiding extradition from Antigua and Barbuda as alleged by Rijock in his article.
Commissioner Rodney said the police force has no power to prevent Choksi’s extradition at all.
Commissioner Rodney explained that after once the Red Notice had been issued by INTERPOL stating that Choksi was wanted by Indian law enforcement authorities and a request made to the Attorney General for his extradition, an extradition order was issued in accordance with a Commonwealth Treaty, governing extradition of wanted persons.
Choksi challenged his extradition in court and he has delayed his extradition by that process.
“Antigua and Barbuda is a democratic nation in which the rule of law prevails. Under the Constitution of the country, Mr Choksi has the right to seek a hearing by the Court, and only the Court can order his extradition by judicial process. His matter is still before the Courts because of his legal interventions,” the commissioner’s statement said.
In the article, Rijock claims that Inspector Henry and Choksi, “have been meeting at the Al Porto Restaurant at Jolly Harbour, alleging bribery”.
The police have countered, however, that Choksi and Inspector Henry only met twice.
“Both engagements occurred around August 2021 and June 2022 during an investigation where Mr Choksi alleged he was kidnapped from Antigua and transported against his will to Dominica.
“Besides, the two interviews were not conducted at the Al Porto Restaurant in Jolly Harbour as Mr Rijock claims, but at Mr. Choksi’s office, upstairs in the same building of the Restaurant in the presence of his attorney,” Commissioner Rodney said.
Rijock also alleged in the online article that Magistrate Conliffe Clarke conspired” with Inspector Henry to interfere with INTERPOL’s efforts to detain Choksi for extradition to India.
“The only connection between Inspector Henry and Magistrate Clarke in this matter was to secure a warrant requesting INTERPOL to issue a Red Notice for three foreign persons who Mr Choksi claims were participants in his alleged kidnapping.
“Those Red Notices were approved and issued by INTERPOL,” the statement explained.
The Commissioner concluded in his statement on the matter that, “It is most regrettable that without offering any proof whatsoever, Mr Rijock has included judges and law enforcement agencies in allegations of bribery by Mr Choksi, obviously to delay his extradition to India.”