Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Permell urges Howai: Speed up audit of share sale
Finance Minister Larry Howai has been asked to ensure that an audit of the sale of First Citizens shares by the bank’s chief risk officer Philip Rahaman is expedited and that the report is made public as soon as the investigation is complete. Peter Permell, a minority shareholder rights advocate, made the call in a letter yesterday. He reminded Howai that he has given a firm commitment that he “stands ready to provide the public of T&T with pertinent information as same is deemed allowable for disclosure”.
Permell said: “However, I hasten to remind the former banker that time in the world of finance time is always of the essence; and like time, the market waits on no one. It also abhors uncertainty. “In fact, one only has to look at the current market price of FCB to understand this truism. At Friday’s close of $36.40, this price represents a decline of $6.60 or 15 per cent from its 52-week high of $43 on January 20, six days after the chief risk officer’s multi-million dollar trade and since then it has been downhill for the most-part.
“Interestingly, the transaction has now earned the dubious distinction of being the largest single trade of FCB shares, both in terms of volume and value, by any individual or corporate entity in any one trading-day since listing on September 16, 2013.” Permell commended Howai for the responsible manner in which he has handled the matter so far and reminded him that the public needs to be assured that the bank is being run honestly, prudently and in the best interest of shareholders.