Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor at the University of the West Indies, was the featured speaker at the 2016 Eric Williams Memorial Lecture Series, held in honour of the country’s...
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Ex-Caribbean Sea Works director: My hands are clean
Former director of Caribbean Sea Works Ltd Krishnamurti Mahabir says he is not afraid to face the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) because he had no involvement in the $644 million cargo of cocaine seized at Norfolk, Virginia, last month. The company was named as the entity which shipped the illegal cargo to Virginia, but the company has been officially defunct since its main owner, John O’Sullivan, died in 2008. Speaking at his office, PIK and Associates, at Chamroo Branch Trace, Claxton Bay, yesterday, Mahabir said he removed himself as a director of the defunct company on December 13, 2012. A document of the transaction, signed by authorised officer Doolin Ragoonath Mahabir, showed that Malcolm Browne, of Milford Road, Scarborough, and Brigitta O’Sullivan, of Windy Ridge, Goodwood Park, Glencoe, remained as directors after 2012.
Saying he was never aware that Caribbean Sea Works was a front for drug smuggling, Mahabir said he had no plans to investigate the company’s operations after he demitted office. Explaining how he became involved with the company in its early days, he said: “My name is listed as a director of the company because I made an investment with one of my clients, Victor Jattan. “Caribbean Sea Works had a contract to do the Scarborough jetty. They got the contract. “I was put there to secure Victor’s interest. I never had any signing authority or anything, so I am clear.” When the owner of the company died, Mahabir said, the contract was terminated, leaving Jattan at a loss. Asked why he waited until 2012 to remove his name, Mahabir said: “I forgot about it. I had no time to see about that. I was just there as a figurehead. “Right now I am involved in 15 or 20 companies, so I am a busy man.” Asked what prompted him to remove his name last year, Mahabir said: “Companies Registry has penalties for the filing of annual returns. I didn’t want to get tied up in that because there are hefty penalties tax-wise. When I realised that my name was still there, I took my name off.”
He said when he saw himself listed as a director of Caribbean Sea Works several days ago, he was surprised. “The owner is dead, how was I to know his company was being used as a front for drugs? I now know that,” he said. “This has affected me but I have nothing to hide. I have over 300 clients and if my name gets dirty, we will run into problems.” He said he regretted his involvement at the company, but had full confidence that the DEA would crack the case. Asked whether he had received any calls from concerned clients, Mahabir said no. “My clients know that I am not on nonsense. I called up a few of them to tell them that I will be speaking with the DEA. I told them I had no clue what was going on at the company. “I am not worried, because I always thought the company was defunct since 2007 or 2008.” Mahabir said his accountancy company was registered with the Financial Intelligence Unit and he was aware of the stringent rules in place to prevent money laundering. Asked what measures should be put in place at the ports to thwart the transatlantic drug trade, Mahabir said no matter what was done, the trade would continue. “You can never stop crime. I cannot say what more could be done at the ports.” Asked if there should be more surveillance systems, Mahabir said: “Yes, I guess so, but everything costs money. More money for more surveillance. Where we getting money?”