Apr 07, 2016 News
In 2004, the Board of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) approved $300M to be invested into the
Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO).
But the recent forensic audit report prepared by Chartered Accountant, Anand Goolsarran, revealed that no evidence could be found to show that the GFC Board secured ministerial permission for the said investment.
Goolsarran noted that Section 21 of the Forest Act provides for the Commission, with the approval of the Minister, to invest any money in any securities or sell or otherwise dispose of any of its securities.
Kaieteur News understands that such permission is supposed to be secured in writing.
In response to this finding, the Commission submitted a letter dated December 28, 2015 from then Chairman of the Board indicating that the then Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, and the former Minister with responsibility for Forestry, Robert Persaud, had given verbal no objections for the Board to make a final decision on the matter.
The Commission nevertheless acknowledged that a formal written communication from the Minister should have been provided approving of the investment.
In his report, Goolsarran said that in 2010, the former Governor of the Bank of Guyana, the late Lawrence Williams, was appointed the liquidator of CLICO.
The Commission had written to the Bank requesting an update on the matter. By letter dated April 30, 2015, the current Governor, Dr. Gobind Ganga, advised the Commission that payments in favour of Government organizations, under which the Commission fell, were yet to begin, as priority was being given to policy holders.
It was on January 2, 1994, that CLICO International Life Insurance Limited opened its doors taking over the
life insurance operations in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean of Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited. CLICO served the Caribbean for over 60 years. Its mission was to become the company of choice among life insurance buyers in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
At the helm was Leroy Parris, former chairman of CLICO Holdings Barbados Ltd., which included services such as CLICO International Life Insurance Ltd. With 60 years of service under its belt, the company became one of the largest local conglomerates in the region, encompassing over 65 companies in 32 countries worldwide, with total assets exceeding US$100 billion.
By the turn of the century, rumblings of fraud and money laundering at CLICO were felt.
By 2005, there was talk of naive and greedy managers. There was talk of failure of government, regulators and auditors; of incompetence and failures at every level and at the highest levels within the company; and finally, fear and talk of CLICO needing taxpayers’ bailout.
Understanding the situation from his bird’s-eye view within the company, the Chairman decided to protect his interest and before the mess hit the fan, CLICO was presumably being looted.
By 2007 to 2008, there was no hiding the fact that CLICO was limping financially as well as its branches in other Caribbean territories, including Guyana.
CLICO Guyana had approximately $6.9B invested in the Regional Insurance Company. With CLICO Guyana now insolvent for some years, policyholders are still hoping for an early conclusion to the liquidation.
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