Termination of Kerik's contact not ruled out – Luncheon

Kaieteur News
March 23, 2007

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Government is not entirely ruling out the possibility of terminating the contract of former New York Commissioner of Police Bernard Kerik, who recently refused a plea deal in the United States to serve a reduced prison sentence on tax fraud, illegal eavesdropping, and accusations that he supplied false information on his application to become the head of Homeland Security.

Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon said, yesterday, that the contract for service has already been entered into, and the terms of the contract have already been agreed to by both Kerik and the Government. Kerik has been contracted from February 1.

Apart from advising the Office of the President and the Home Affairs Ministry on security matters, Kerik will also provide the Government with support for resource mobilisation in the security sector. “I wouldn't pretend that nothing could void the contract. But heaven help, there are all sorts of improbable occurrences that could indeed occur,” Luncheon declared.

Last November, Government terminated the contract of a Peruvian national who was hired to provide advisory services at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

It is believed that this was done to facilitate the hiring of Kerik, who travelled to Guyana , in August last year, to meet with President Bharrat Jagdeo. That meeting took place at State House.

The Cabinet Secretary told reporters yesterday that the ongoing probe by US federal investigators had no bearing on the contract signed between the Government and Kerik, but he went further to state that events could force a review of the contract. “The intention of the US … the federal government administration does not have an impact on the contract. Events could indeed take place that could make this one-year contract come up for further scrutiny,” Luncheon stated.

Federal agents have been investigating Kerik for over a year, and according to the New York Times, the plea offer was made during a 90-minute meeting last month between Perry Carbone and Elliott Jacobson, two assistant US attorneys in Manhattan , and one of Kerik's lawyers, Kenneth Breen.

Federal prosecutors had offered him less than two years in jail in return for a guilty plea, but his lawyers maintained that his innocence was the ground on which the deal was turned down.

Kerik is no stranger to controversy. He had his nomination by President George W. Bush to head the Department of Homeland Security scrapped after questions arose about his background.

Kerik, who helped then New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani quell an upsurge in crime, is also being investigated based on accusations that he conspired to help a former district attorney, Jeanine Pirro, plant listening devices to catch her husband in an extramarital affair.

Investigators have also been reviewing the circumstances under which Kerik accepted US$165,000 in free renovations to his Bronx apartment, in 1999, from Interstate Industrial Corporation, a New Jersey contractor, or a subsidiary.

Kerik pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanour charges of taking money from contractors with alleged mob ties when he was the city's corrections chief.