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Yetming wants Central Bank governor fired

Published: 
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Jwala Rambarran

While Clico policyholders were waiting with bated breath for word on payment of their money a battle was being waged behind closed doors between former Clico chairman Gerald Yetming and Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran. 

Last week, their private battle was made public when details of Rambarran’s report on the circumstances that led to the June 5 dismissal of Yetming and Clico managing director Carolyn John were leaked. 

In the report he called for the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate possible criminal liability on Yetming’s and John’s part following the release of funds to four ex-Clico directors in May. 

However, some three months before that report Yetming, in his report to former finance minister Larry Howai, called for Rambarran to be removed as governor. 

Rambarran, he said, was “unfit” for office. He still maintains this call.

He said the action taken against him and John was “unjustified and unwarranted, and done in a most dishonest and deceitful fashion.”

The former chairman contended that “the Governor, judged only by the manner in which my removal and that of Carolyn John was dealt with, is not fit to continue in the office at the Central Bank.”

Yetming also called for the dismissal of Central Bank officials: Inspector of Financial Institutions Carl Hiralal, Senior Manager, Legal & Corporate Secretariat Services, Nicole Chapman; Chief Actuary Michelle Chong Tai-Bell; and Special Adviser Neil Dingwall. 

He said they were all apprised of who was going to be paid and did not raise any objection. 

“The highest ranking officers of the Central Bank, Hiralal, Chapman, Chong-Tai Bell, Dingwall, among others, participated intimately in this payout and were the final decision makers in this entire process. 

“They must be called to account,” Yetming said in his report, a copy of which was obtained by the Sunday Guardian.

Howai had previously indicated that he would not comment on the matter until he had seen Rambarran’s report. 

However, according to a Trinidad Express report, Rambarran submitted his report on September 4, the last working day before the general election. 

No comment from 

Rambarran, Gaspard

The Sunday Guardian attempted to reach Rambarran for a comment on Yetming’s statements. However, he did not respond to the email sent to him.

Calls to DPP Roger Gaspard’s cellphone also went unanswered and he did not reply to the text message sent to him.

In Rambarran’s report he alluded to an “egregious breach of Section 44(I) of the Central Bank Act” in the payments made to former Clico directors Ian Garcia and his company Events Unlimited; Clinton Ramberansingh and his connected parties (Bianca Ramberansingh and Martina De Silva); Vishnu Ramlogan; and Nigel Salina and his company Nigel Salina and Associates. They were among ten identified as being paid $48.5 million.

It was suggested that those payouts were not in keeping with the protocols outlined in the bank’s March 26 letter issued to Yetming and copied to John.

Rambarran claimed, in the 23-page report, that Yetming and John defied written instructions, which were outlined in his March 26 letter, to seek approval before disbursing payments as set out in the Clico Resolution Plan. 

Yetming, in his June 18 report, denied this as he pointed to the fact that Hiralal, Chapman, Chong Tai-Bell and Dingwall were all privy to payments made to ex-Clico directors.

He also said John was in regular contact with these high-ranking bank officials throughout the period when payments were being prepared.

On Friday, in an interview on CNC3’s Morning Brew talk show, Yetming said he forwarded a copy of his report to the DPP for review as well, since he believed both he and John acted in accordance with their mandate and did not commit any offence. 

He also said he would be sending a copy of his report to newly sworn in Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

Yetming’s report also contained a detailed timeline outlining the process that led to the payments to the former directors and their related parties. 

In the timeline, which was prepared by John, Yetming indicated that at no time did the bank indicate that the related parties were to be excluded from the payouts to Short-Term Institutional Products (STIP) holders. 

The timeline started with a March 25 meeting which Hiralal and John attended at the Central Bank. 

It also indicated that before payments began a letter was sent to the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which was conducting an investigation into CL Financial and Clico, advising of the pending payout but no response was received.

He also indicated that on May 1, the day when the payout process started, the bank sent a letter, after a series of emails, instructing that Gita Sakal and her company were not to be paid. 

No one, he said, gave a directive to stop payments to related parties or to submit all claims for prior approval. 

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