Shadow Finance Minister, Winston Murray, in the wake of the recent ruling by Chief Justice Ian Chang said that the then Commissioner of Insurance and the Company should be taken to court over the illegal transfer of monies from Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) Guyana.
Murray said that there is a clear violation of the law on the part of the Company and that the then Commissioner of Insurance, Maria van-Beek, should have taken action to prevent the company from breaching the law.
He questioned whether van-Beek was in collusion with the company saying that they probably did expect the big fall out.
“Maria van-Beek is guilty because she had the responsibility,” of ensuring that the illegal transfers did not occur and as such he posited that some policy holder(s) should take up the matter legally.
As it relates to the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Geeta Singh-Knight and legal recourse, Murray said that it is the company that has to face the brunt of the law and should she be found culpable then company policy would determine how to deal with her.
In his ruling to have the company wound up, Chang pointed that it should be noted the Insurance Act does not allow any insurer carrying on long term insurance businesses to invest more than 15 per cent of its statutory fund outside of Guyana.
“It does appear that CLICO (Guyana) has little or no chance of recouping this US$34M since CLICO (Bahamas) Ltd. has been wound up due to a deficit of assets relative to liabilities in the sum of US$30 million.”
The US$34 million illegally remitted abroad represents about 53 per cent of the company’s total assets.
Earlier this year, President Bharrat Jagdeo had defended the fact that Geeta Singh-Knight is a serving member on the Board of Directors of the Guyana Sugar Corporation despite the fact that she presided over the failure of insurance giant, Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) Guyana.
President Jagdeo said that she presided over “bad investments.”
After listing the several bad investments made by CLICO Guyana, a reporter asked Jagdeo whether he thought it was a good idea to have her sit on the GuySuCo Board and he said that she has, “significant skills, frankly speaking.”
Jagdeo had just finished telling the media operatives at a press briefing that several bad investments were made by CLICO Guyana.
He told media operatives that at CLICO Guyana all of the money spent can be tracked. “It’s not like it disappeared or was siphoned…the problem is it was the judgment, it might be bad judgment.”
The President said, “Clearly we can establish that they had inter-company links established across the Caribbean… they had interlocking directorate and they were excessively leveraged.”
The President said that monies were sent from Guyana to CLICO Bahamas, to the Turks and Caicos, to Suriname and to several other CLICO ventures “because of interlocking directorate and because of incestuous transactions…those are clear to us.”
As it relates to CLICO Guyana’s investments overseas, the President reiterated that, if one should talk about that, a lot of our people made bad judgments…They were lured by high interest rates….This happens in a financial crisis…Look at how much money is lost around the world.”
Jagdeo stressed that if it were a matter of corruption then it would have been a totally different scenario “but we have found no evidence of corruption.”
A lot of people made bad judgment in the period and a lot of people lost their money, some with Stanford.
Singh-Knight was placed on an interim management board of GuySuCo to assist in drafting a ‘turn-around plan’ for the industry.
It was later found that while she was at the helm of CLICO Guyana, the company breached the Insurance Act by investing more than it should have overseas and the company was well below its liquidity rate.
Following the move to the court in The Bahamas to wind up the CLICO company there, and realising that CLICO Guyana has in excess of $6B locked in there, the then Commissioner of Insurance, Maria van Beek moved to the High Court to wind up the company.
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