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Chief Solicitor named receiver of Harry’s estate

Friday, December 20, 2013

High Court judge Joan Charles on Wednesday directed that the Chief State Solicitor should be appointed as the receiver for the protection of the estate of Harry Harnarine, the former president of the failed Hindu Credit Union (HCU). The ruling is the latest move in bankruptcy proceedings brought by valuations surveyor and current JCC president, Afra Raymond, who took the action after the disgraced former credit union boss failed to pay in full a judgment debt of $867,726.59.


Raymond had successfully sued Harnarine and HCU Communications for slander and defamation over comments that Harnarine made on Radio Shakti, which was part of the HCU empire. In her judgment, Justice Charles found Harnarine committed an act of bankruptcy in May 2010 in that he failed to comply with the requirements of a bankruptcy notice served on him in April 2009. 



In January 2011, Harnarine went to the Court of Appeal to challenge the issuance of the bankruptcy notice but the appeal was dismissed in its entirety on May 6, 2013. In Wednesday's ruling Charles said she was satisfied by Raymond's petition and she declared that a receiving order should be made against Harnarine. She also constituted the Chief State Solicitor to be the receiver of Harnarine's estate and ordered the former credit union executive to pay the judgment creditor costs for senior and junior counsel. 



About Harry Harnarine

With the quick wit and ready answers of someone who could sell ice to eskimos, Harry Harnarine turned the Hindu Credit Union (HCU) into one of the country’s biggest and fastest growing financial institutions in the last decade.


But evidence before Colman Commission of Enquiry into the collapse of the HCU and the CL Financial empire—which was run for years by Lawrence Duprey, who was once Harry’s boss at Clico—indicates that the empire collapsed because of very poor financial controls, little adherence to corporate governance and the attempts to bend credit union rules.


At its peak, Harry’s empire was taking in millions of dollars a year mostly from low-income people in central and south Trinidad—many of whom viewed Harry as a financial genius. The credit union invested a security firm, radio and television stations, a travel agency, insurance company and real estate—a great deal of real estate in Trinidad and in Florida, accounting to testimony at the commission.


The enquiry also heard of the millions that the HCU lavished on Harry for overseas travel, millions in authorised payments, loans to HCU members way out of proportion to the number of shares they owned and deep flaws in the institution’s record keeping and accounts. 


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