THREE unnamed senior government ministers are now under the microscope of the Grand Jury of the Southern District Court of New York which indicted Christopher 'Dudus' Coke last August on alleged gun anddrug trafficking charges.
Well-informed Observer sources said the Americans are contending that the Jamaican Government officials had conspired to prevent information from reaching the Grand Jury in the Coke case — the latest in the fallout from the Manatt Phelps and Phillips law firm controversy.
Investigators probing breaches of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) involving the Government of Jamaica, and the US law firm are piecing together evidence they say will expose the alleged link between the government officials, Manatt Phelps and Phillips, and Coke, the Tivoli Gardens strongman.
The Observer sources said the investigators were focusing on two areas: conspiracy to prevent information reaching the Grand Jury, and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The investigators believe that the firm's service was retained by officials connected to the Government, to lobby Washington not to pressure Jamaica to extradite Coke. In that regard, several influential Americans connected to the US administration were contacted by the law firm, including the administration's nominee as Ambassador to Niger.
"A file from the probe was sent to the Grand Jury, in which the finger was pointed directly at the law firm and the Jamaican Government and the continued delay in the extradition warrant being discharged," the source said.
Opposition spokesman, Dr Peter Phillips who first raised the Manatt, Phelps and Phillips issue in the Parliament, said Good Friday that the matter was still wide open, as information filed by the company to United States officials up to Holy Thursday and that provided by government officials here was at variance.
"No, it's not over. It can't be over when the disparity between the two positions, that of the Government, and that of the firm, leaves too many unanswered questions..." Phillips told the Observer.
The Government said it had no dealings with Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, while the firm is maintaining that it had represented the Government and was paid US$50,000 on its US$100,000 invoice.