The National Gas Company (NGC) yesterday was given leave to withdraw a billion dollar lawsuit against the cash-strapped Clico Investment Bank (CIB). Justice Peter Rajkumar, as a legal formality, relinquished the state enterprise from the matter it had filed under the People's National Movement to recover over $1.1 billion invested in CIB. Attorney Donna Denbow appeared for NGC yesterday at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain. Bronock Reid and Farees Hosein, counsel for state-owned First Citizens' Bank, said they had received written notice of NGC's decision to withdraw and had no objection to the new application before the court.
Earlier this month, lawyers for NGC had won a legal battle to have CIB interim manager Carl Hiralal, Maria Daniel, director at Ernst and Young, and Wendy Ho Sing, former deputy inspector of financial institutions, cross-examined on affidavits sworn in support of a winding-up petition for CIB. Days later, lawyers for NGC returned to court to withdraw their objection to the winding-up proceedings. Lawyers for NGC are instructed by the NGC board, which is chaired by Larry Howai. Roop Chan Chadeesingh is deputy chairman. NGC's withdrawal of its lawsuit against CIB, together with its removal of an objection to the winding-up petition, effectively means if the winding-up petition is allowed, NGC stands to lose over $1.1 billion invested in CIB. The National Insurance Board (NIB) is continuing its bid to block the winding-up proceedings. NIB has a lawsuit seeking to recover close to $700 million from CIB.