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Ex-HCU officials face charges for failure to show at inquiry
Former Hindu Credit Union (HCU) executives who refused to appear at the Clico/HCU Commission of Enquiry are not going to get away scot-free, a commission source has said. Former HCU financial consultant Jameel Ali, HCU CEO Ravindra Bachan, CFO Gawtam Ramnanan and treasurer Yadwanath Lalchan may face civil and criminal charges if the commission finds sufficient grounds in documents submitted to it to commence legal proceedings against them.
Despite being asked to appear, the quartet did not turn up at the inquiry to respond to information presented to the commission alleging they committed several acts of wrongdoing while employed at the HCU. Ali was supposed to appear on Monday or Tuesday, but failed to do so for a second time. Initially, he was summoned to appear in July but a doctor testified that he was ill.
It was one of the main reasons why commission chairman Sir Anthony Colman postponed yesterday’s hearing, the source said. “He will now have to decide how to exercise the powers invested in him under the Commission of Enquiry Act to deal with the men.”
At Tuesday’s sitting, Colman said he was adjourning yesterday’s session to “exercise his powers” against Ali. Under the Commission’s of Inquiry Act, a witness who has been summoned but fails to appear can be charged with contempt. The source said the commission had scheduled a certain amount of time to deal with the HCU and expected Ali, who was notified, to appear between last Monday and Wednesday.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Chanka Seeterram, hired by the HCU to audit their books, told the inquiry that Ali was a qualified accountant who worked in his firm before he became a consultant for the credit union.
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