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Rowley calls for removal of old FCB board
People's National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley is calling on Finance Minister Larry Howai to ensure that the existing board of First Citizens is voted out. The current board is chaired by Nyree Alfonso. Shareholders of First Citizens will vote for the relection of directors at the annual general meeting tomorrow. The Government remains the largest single shareholder of the bank and, therefore, the decision on whether the board goes or stays depends on the Minister of Finance.
First Citizens has become the subject of public attention due to a fallout over the buying of 659,588 shares by the bank's former chief risk officer, Phillip Rahaman during the its initial public offering last August. Rahaman was subsequently fired.
In front of the hundreds of supporters gathered for team Rowley's Rally at the Grand Stand, Queen's Park Savannah yesterday, Rowley said, "On Monday, when the Minister of Finance meets or sends his instructions to FCB, I am calling on the Minister of Finance tonight to instruct the Government nominee to vote out the existing board of the FCB and vote in a new board as selected by the Minister of Finance. “To do otherwise is to send a signal that what happened at FCB has the Government’s support...
“All that exists in the public domain including investigations and resignations and embarrassment, in the face of all of that we know that went on there, if the Minister of Finance instructs the Government proxy to vote to continue service from the existing board, then you the people of T&T would have been told in no uncertain terms that they would prefer to have wrongdoing in office.”
Rowley also assured the cheering crowd that once elected into office on May 18 as leader of the PNM, he would immediately instruct the party’s secretary general Ashton Ford to begin preparations for the party’s annual convention. Following on the heels of that, he would have Ford send out communications to approximately ten or 12 of the party’s constituencies to seek representatives to serve in Parliament, signalling that the party was getting ready for the upcoming 2015 general election.
He outlined several things the party has planned should it be elected in 2015 among them internal self governance for Tobago.
It was reported that the shares were allegedly purchased for Rahaman's uncle, Imtiaz Rahaman, his aunt and five businesses controlled by his uncle. This also led to the resignation of Subhas Ramkhelawan, former chairman of the T&T Stock Exchange and independent senator.
It was reported that Imtiaz is the chairman of Bourse Securities owned by Ramkhelawan. Two of the board's members—Rishi Baddaloo and Indu Shoba Jacelon—were also removed. There have been calls by contractor Emile Elias and activist Peter Permell for the board’s removal.