Yvonne Webb and Alana Boodoo-Suraj
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Clico policyholders disappointed over plans to sell Methanol shares
The Clico Policyholders Group (CPG), led by Peter Permell, yesterday said it was “deeply concerned and disappointed” that all of Clico’s 56 per cent shareholding in Methanol Holdings Ltd (MHTL) is expected to be sold to Consolidated Energy Ltd. That move follows a decision by the ICC International Court of Arbitration late last year. Permell said that matter should have been in the public domain since November last year. He is now calling on Finance Minister Larry Howai to issue a “comprehensive statement on the matter.” Permell said Howai needs to “explain his silence and the implications of the court’s decision.”
The group, in a release yesterday, is also “equally concerned with the seemingly blasé manner in which this matter of great national importance has only now found its way into the public domain.”Permell said information from note 37 of the Clico 2012 audited financial statements published on Friday, should have been available to Finance Minister Larry Howai and others in authority from as early as November 18, last year. “In fact, we distinctly recall on November 19, 2013 in the Senate, notwithstanding a direct question from then Opposition Senator Fitzgerald Hinds relative to this matter, the Finance Minister failed to disclose this material development,” Permell said.
Permell said back in March 2009, then Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira approved a proposal from then CL Financial corporate secretary, Gita Sakal, to transfer 6.541 per cent of MHTL and 7.529 per cent of Methanol Holdings (International) Ltd (MHTIL) to Clico. “This caused Clico’s stake in MHTL and MHIL to increase to 56.531 per cent and a 57.429 per cent respectively. The purported share transfer was in exchange for the discharge of a $1.13 billion debenture that Clico held over the fixed and floating assets of its parent, CL Financial,” he said. “However, our research reveals that while a sale did occur...to date those shares have never been legally transferred to Clico,” he said. The group, Permell said, wants answers from Nunez-Tesheira.
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