May 21, 2012 News
NICIL take over of GNCB Trust
Executive Director of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington, just one day after challenging the opposition members to prove the allegations of corruption against him, is again the centre of another scandal.
This time, Brassington is coming under fire for a transaction that he might have initiated in the name of his brother, Jonathan Brassington, for 2.25 million shares in Hand in Hand Trust Corporation.
Brassington was the head of NICIL when it acquired the Guyana National Cooperative Bank (GNCB) Trust. NICIL then sold the GNCB Trust to Hand in Hand Insurance Company.
On October 13, 2003, the insurance company passed a special resolution to change the name of the new asset to Hand in Hand Trust Corporation.
NICIL, still headed by Brassington, became a major shareholder in the company.
NICIL held 250,000 shares in the Trust; the majority of shares was held by Hand in Hand Fire Insurance Company.
In 2009, by order of a resolution passed by the Board of Directors at Hand in Hand Trust Corporation, “the Board authorized an increase in the Trust Corporation Share Capital from $250M to $750M and further authorized the issuance of Preferred/Ordinary
Shares to cover the increased Share Capital.”
This meant that the Trust increased the volume of shares from 2.5 million to 7.5 million at $100 per share.
Immediately, JonathanBrassington bought 2.25 million shares for $225 million. This purchase gave him a one-third ownership in Hand in Hand Trust Company.
By September 2009, Winston Brassington who still represented NICIL as a major shareholder in the Trust company, signed for these shares on behalf of his brother who was at the time and still remains overseas.
Jonathan Brassington became the second largest shareholder in the Trust company after Hand in Hand Fire Insurance Company which held just over three million shares.
At the same time Brassington, acting on behalf of NICIL, increased its share holdings to 300,000.
Alliance For Change (AFC) Khemraj Ramjattan has labeled this transaction as another in a string of incestuous dealings.
He says, “Winston Brassington signed a special resolution on behalf of a Jonathan Brassington who some time in 2009 became the owner of 2,250,000 of the shares in Hand-in-Hand Trust Co. Inc….With this 45 per cent take of the share issue in 2009, a Brassington became the second largest shareholder in a Brassington-privatised company…This is not only corruption: it meets the test of fraud.”
Ramjattan says that what is even more alarming is the fact that this transaction took place mere months before the company plugged a multi-million-dollar investment in the Berbice Bridge.
This investment has since been described as a ‘cash cow’ for its investors.
“The same Hand-in-Hand Trust is part of the Group which invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Berbice Bridge Company.
Winston Brassington was the financial architect of this project.”
The AFC Chairman in responding to Brassington’s challenge to prove corruption says that, “I would advise Mr. Brassington to consult with an attorney before making any further statement to the press…What he is doing, over and above misusing moneys that belong to the Consolidated Fund and therefore the people of Guyana, goes beyond financial incest; it goes beyond corruption: it is financial fraud.”
Ramjattan is also questioning why Brassington is now setting a condition for his resignation when his resignation had been announced several months earlier.
“I hope that Mr. Brassington has not changed his mind so that he can prevent access to the files and records that will conclusively establish the mounting evidence of fraud, corruption and illegalities surrounding NICIL which has surfaced with every passing day.”
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