Manatt/Dudus Commission begins

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The highly anticipated hearings by the Manatt/Dudus Commission of Enquiry are scheduled to get on in earnest at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston starting at 10 o'clock Monday morning.
Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will be the first to be examined.
The Commission of Enquiry was established last year by Prime Minister Bruce Golding to look into the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP's) hiring of the United States-based law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.
The firm was retained to help lobby against the extradition of then West Kingston strongman and alleged drug kingpin Christopher "Dudus" Coke to the United States.
For several months, there were calls for a Commission of Enquiry following revelations unearthed from email correspondence that the Golding administration did in fact engage the law firm.
The correspondence involving Solicitor General Douglas Leys, attorney-at-law Harold Brady and officials of the firm confirmed that Manatt was working on behalf of the Government, even if it had been engaged by the JLP.
In October, the Prime Minister announced that a Commission of Enquiry chaired by attorney at law Queens Counsel Emil George had been set up.
The other two Commissioners are retired Permanent Secretary Anthony Irons and Queens Counsel Donald Scharschmidt.
The Commission is slated to sit for three months.
The Government has allocated $40 million to cover the cost of holding the Enquiry $30 million of which will go towards paying the salaries of employees of the Commission while the remainder is for administrative expenses.
The Commission met on December 6 to discuss its terms of reference and to finalise arrangements for Monday's start of hearings.