Last week’s column focused on stagnation in the tourism sector and the weak marketing of T&T.
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Imbert questions FCB’s share issue
State bank First Citizens was at the centre of a PNM public meeting in Arima on Tuesday night as Diego Martin North/East MP Colm Imbert questioned how the bank’s former chief risk officer Philip Rahaman could have acquired 659,588 shares undetected. Imbert also demanded that Finance Minister Larry Howai should immediately address the matter. The move made Rahaman one of the bank’s largest shareholders.
“Ironically he was in a position called chief risk officer and he was supposed to be checking for skulduggery, checking for irregular transactions, checking suspicious transactions... he eh check heself. “This man buy $14 million worth and when this thing was exposed and he buy the shares at $22 and sell them at $42, in a matter of months he make a profit of $12 million. He sell the shares to his family,” Imbert said. In February, Howai ordered an audit into the bank’s initial public offering (IPO).
Imbert said the issue was raised recently in Parliament, during which Howai refused to answer. “We had a question in Parliament the other day. The leader of the Opposition asked the Minister of Finance whether the investigation into that matter is completed. He do a Dookeran... he duck and run. “And the politically appointed board of that bank, appointed by the UNC, pretending they don’t know nothing. Howai playing smart, but he is the one who has to answer,” Imbert said.
He said the rules were made in such a way that they facilitated Rahaman to easily purchase the shares, “while an ordinary man could only get 1,000 shares. ”Howai has to explain how it is that this man, working for the bank, could get $14 million in shares and an ordinary man could only get a couple shares,” Imbert said. He said it was also unbelievable that the bank’s former chairman, Nyree Alfonso, could have been unaware of what was taking place.
More to ganja video
There is a “part two” of a video featuring a man resembling a government minister rolling a marijuana cigarette in a hotel room with two women. This was hinted by Diego Martin North/East MP Colm Imbert. “I understand there is a part two to that video... I waiting to see,” Imbert said, chuckling, which also prompted the crowd to laugh.
On the Cyber Crime Bill being debated in Parliament, Imbert said that was an attempt on the government’s part to stop the circulation of “damaging videos, tape recordings and other evidence” that would expose the “corruption and immorality” of the government.