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Howai confident in SEC and DPP
Finance Minister Larry Howai said he is “comforted” that both the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the T&T Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) are doing their jobs in the investigation of the First Citizens Bank (FCB) IPO transaction that led to the firing of the bank’s chief risk officer Phillip Rahaman. “There is a commitment to move forward with prosecuting as far as possible and the DPP is the one that deals with this. I am confident the DPP would do what is necessary to move that forward. “The second thing is that the SEC continues independently to pursue its own line of investigation and I know they are fairly well advanced with that. From both angles all is covered,” he said. Howai spoke to the media yesterday at the State Boards Corporate Governance Seminar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain.
Last Thursday, Subhas Ramkhelawan said he was resigning both posts as Independent Senator and chairman of the SEC after weeks of debate over whether he should resign after he said no laws were breached when Rahaman purchased $14.5 million in shares during its IPO last year. Also last Thursday, the Attorney General Anand Ramlogan recommended that the FCB IPO transaction be referred to the SEC and DPP for investigations. Howai expresses “confidence” that there would be action because the SEC has special powers of its own. “The SEC has a certain amount of prosecutorial capability and therefore they are pursuing the matter on their own. This complements what the DPP is doing. I remain confident I would see action on this,” he said.
He added that the issue is “far from over” but said confidence is important in how FCB moves forward. “There is a lot of work going on right now and the important thing is to ensure that the confidence of all the depositors remain This is an organisation that is strong and has a wide franchise,” he said.
Speaking about the Phoenix Park Gas IPO, he said the Government is doing the groundwork for that. “With respect to Phoenix Park we are preparing all of the information now and getting ready to go. Cabinet would like to see this whole issue settled in some way before we proceed to the next side,” he said.