The Court of Appeal has ordered former government minister and international football executive, Austin Jack Warner, to pay nearly one million dollars in compensation to a deputy mayor dating back to an incident six years ago.
The Court of Appeal this week held that Warner, who was then the chairman of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) be given 90 days in which to pay the deputy mayor of Chaguanas in Central Trinidad, Faaiq Mohammed, the earlier court-ordered compensation of TT$737,666.67 for an attack on Mohammed’s character in 2013.
However, if Warner is successful in his appeal to the London-based Privy Council, the country’s highest court, the money will be returned to him.
The Court of Appeal has granted the former national security minister and vice-president of the International Football Federation (FIFA) conditional leave to challenge the judge’s ruling that he defamed the deputy mayor while campaigning.
Mohammed did not object to leave being granted to Warner, but objected to a stay of the payment of the compensation until the Privy Council ruling.
Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal had ordered Warner to pay the compensation to Mohammed, amounting to TT$650,000, with interest to be added.
Warner had accused Mohammed, who was an ILP councillor in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation, of accepting a TT$2.5 million bribe to vote for a United National Congress (UNC) candidate for the post of presiding officer during the corporation’s first meeting.
Warner had also threatened to “deal with” Mohammed and ensure that “his political career is finished.”
In 2014, after Mohammed, who was expelled from the party, filed a defamation claim in the High Court, Warner conceded liability at the trial, despite, as the appeal court judges described it “the conscious, intentional, willful and relentless defamation of the appellant by the respondent over a continuous period of seven days,” and “in circumstances where no offer to apologies or apology has ever been made”.