The Central Bank hired Canadian forensic auditor Bob Lindquist during the PNM administration’s term in 2009 to probe all aspects of former financial giant Clico, says former PNM minister of finance Conrad Enill. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said in the Senate on Wednesday that Lindquist was paid $82.8 million for work he did for Central Bank under the PNM administration over 2010 to 2011.
Ramlogan listed the following payments from Central Bank to Lindquist:
• April 2009-Nov 2010: $46 million
• Feb 2011-Aug 2011: $10 million
• Feb-Sep 2011: $17 million
• Nov 2010-Sept 2011: $9.8 million
Ramlogan complained the AG’s office was left with a tidal wave of legal fee bills to pay from the PNM’s term, when he said there was a “gold rush” on for legal work. He pointed to payments for several private attorneys engaged by the PNM, including Reginald Armour and Elena Araujo, and other expenses including those from Central Bank. A spokesman at the Central Bank Governor’s office said the bank was unable to divulge what Lindquist earned the $82.8 million for or to list the forensic investigations he did.
PNM leader Keith Rowley, whose party was in government when Lindquist was hired, didn’t answer calls. Former Central Bank governor Ewart Williams said he was no longer with the Central Bank and could not speak about bank work. Former PNM minister Conrad Enill said Lindquist was hired to probe all matters related to Clico companies after the Clico issue, which broke in 2009. Former PNM finance minister Karen Tesheira did not answer calls. Former PNM minister of Finance Mariano Browne also said Lindquist was hired to investigate the Clico issue.
He referred queries to former PNM attorney general John Jeremie. The latter was not at his law firm’s office, a secretary who received the queries said. Immediately after the collapse of Clico in January 2009 in the PNM’s tenure, the Central Bank was widely reported as hiring forensic investigator Lindquist to go through the financial affairs of the financial giant, including Clico and Clico Investment Bank. During the PP’s tenure, the Government in September 2010 stated that reports on Clico, including one from Lindquist’s probes into Clico subsidiaries, were sent to the DPP’s office.
During Wednesday’s Senate debate, AG Ramlogan said action would be taken against those culpable in the Clico/HCU issue. Lindquist got the Clico brief when the then PNM administration of Patrick Manning wanted to track down the people responsible for the disappearance of billions of dollars from Clico, Clico Investment Bank and CL Financial, once the Caribbean’s largest business conglomerate. At the time of its collapse, the commercial entity was reported to have assets in a portfolio of more than 60 companies operating in the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including banking and financial services, insurance, energy, real estate, forestry, insurance, medical services and retail.
Investigations conducted by Lindquist in several jurisdictions unearthed forensic evidence which led to a civil suit being filed in June 2011 by the Central Bank and Colonial Life Insurance Company Limited (Clico) against Duprey and the CL Financial’s former financial director, Andre Monteil. Files coming out of that probe were forwarded later to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard to determine if criminal charges should be laid against the two men.