A number of concerned members of the New Building Society (NBS) say that they are contemplating a motion made in Parliament to change the society into a company and have it regulated by the Bank of Guyana.
The group, which calls itself the New Building Society Concerned Members, also yesterday flayed the financial situation of the society and said that the entire “investment in the Berbice River Bridge is in contravention of the NBS Act, under which the NBS is a housing association.”
The group, which included its Chairman, Fazel Khan, and members-consumers affair advocate, Eileen Cox and accountant, Christopher Ram, made the statements yesterday at the Lamaha Street office of the Guyana Consumers Association.
“All it takes is five words. The New Building Society Limited. As you can see all it will take for NBS to fall under the Financial Institutions Act. We believe that the simple step will provide the assurance that a leading financial institution will require for the safety and security of its funds,” Ram said.
The group said that it called the press conference to highlight “certain matters which are of serious concern to us”.
The body said that the issue of NBS not being under the FIA and therefore not regulated by the Bank of Guyana has been raised several times.
“This promise to address legislative changes was made and repeated on numerous occasions over at least five years. We have carefully examined the FIA and we are convinced that all it requires to bring NBS under regulatory control are no more than five words to Section 2 of the Act. Our concern is that this delay/failure exposes deposits amounting to $32B placed in the society by tens of thousands of members.”
The concerned members also accused the board and management of failing/refusing to carry out decisions properly taken at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), the supreme organ of the society, including repatriation of investments held in the United Kingdom and the establishment of a Loans Sub-Committee of the Board.
Reading from the prepared statement, the members also noted that the directors in newspaper publications of its unaudited accounts for a nine month period ending September 30, 2009, insulted its members by describing them in unacceptable, uncouth and inappropriate language as “sick and frustrated minds” and “half a dozen disgruntled persons”.
The group also noted that without offering any explanations, the NBS Directors removed its long-standing auditors and replaced them with a partnership “already in the process of breaking up.”
According to the members, they have been made aware that NBS has “effectively ceased lending for mortgages-an unprecedented development in the history of the NBS. The Society has given as the reason for this that the Society has reached its lending limit.”
The group was of the opinion given all the various scenarios, that there is grave danger for the future of the society which is now unable to perform its most important role and function, “that of mortgages lending to its members. We further believe that this situation has arisen because of the mismanagement by a board consisting of members with strong political affiliation and connections.”
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