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HCU/Clico commission ends session today
The 11th session of the Clico/Hindu Credit Union commission of enquiry at Winsure Building, Port-of-Spain, ends today after several witnesses who were subpoenaed failed to respond to give evidence. Commission chairman Sir Anthony Colman said yesterday: “Given the failure of some people to answer subpoenas and give evidence, tomorrow morning, we shall be considering what steps to take to examine that situation.”
Among the witnesses who were subpoenaed last week and were due to give evidence at this latest session of the enquiry, but have not responded, are Lawrence Duprey, former executive chairman of the CL Financial (CLF) Group, and Andre Monteil, former CLF Group chief financial officer. They were due to appear on Tuesday. Gerald Ramdeen, junior counsel to the enquiry, had said earlier that after more than 24 months of the enquiry, on January 22, Duprey’s legal team wrote to the commission on January 22, saying Duprey would be withdrawing from any further participation.
Another witness who failed to heed the commission’s subpoena was Mala Gandhi, former vice-president of Clico Investment Bank (CIB). Colman on Wednesday said Gandhi was the subject of a subpoena with a return date of February 23, but she’s yet to appear before the commission. Yesterday, the enquiry heard from Norton Jack, general counsel to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who said the Securities Act of 2012 provides greater powers to penalise companies that do not follow its regulations.
Vincent Nelson, the attorney representing the Ministry of Finance asked him if he thinks the new Act is an improvement over the Act of 1995. Nelson asked: “The new 2012 act, bearing in mind the difficulties the SEC was having in getting reports issued on time, does the new act provide the SEC with any greater powers to force the registered organisations to submit their financial statements on time?” Jack replied: “Apart from the increased fines that would be associated with such a contravention, the fact that one of the things of regulation is the approach, so that I would suggest the SEC in 2013 may not approach it in a way that another SEC may have.
“So the current board of the SEC has a very robust approach to contraventions and the increased fines for contraventions, like late filing, will present itself as a better tool to encourage the compliance.”
Nelson: “It is important to protect the interest of the public for the submission of reports and financial data, is that not so?” Jack: “Yes, it is.” Nelson: “Do you consider that the new rules provided by the 2012 act will provide the SEC enough powers to deal with recalcitrant filers?” Jack: “I consider they certainly provide improved capacity and powers to encourage compliance in filing.”
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