Property Matters: The Ethics Gap – part five

Property Matters: The Ethics Gap – part five

This article will examine the perennial issues of the ‘interlocking directorate‘ and the role of our professional institutions in maintaining standards.

The previous article examined the High Court ruling against valuers, Charles B. Lawrence & Associates, arising from the 2012 lawsuit of Intercommercial Bank Limited (IBL) for a negligent valuation of a property on San Fernando Bypass.

Lawrence valued the property for $15M and also made a defensive claim that the bank ought to have known that the property sold two months prior for $450,000. That claim of contributory negligence failed, unsurprisingly. It is literally unbelievable that any property could increase in value from $450,000 to $15.0M in two months.

The Court took expert witness evidence from two other valuers, Brent Augustus (for IBL) and Roy Gumansingh (for Charles B. Lawrence & Associates), who both gave opinions that the property was worth $15.0M in 2008, on the assumption of commercial use. The Lawrence Report assumed commercial use and that was found to be ‘wholly misleading‘. That Report also failed to properly point out the presence of occupiers/squatters on the site, which both Augustus and Gumansingh took account of. In any case, the best offer received for the property was $2.0M, two years after the Lawrence valuation. Continue reading “Property Matters: The Ethics Gap – part five”

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AUDIO: Interview on Sky 99.5 FM on corruption – 12 December 2017

sky995fmThis is my interview on 99.5FM on The Breakfast Roundtable on Sky 99.5 FM on Tuesday 12th December 2017, with Jessie-May Ventour, Dr. Wayne Heywood and Edison Carr to discuss the implementation of the Public Procurement & Disposal of Public Property Act and other topics relating to corruption in T&T being at serious levels now. Audio courtesy Sky 99.5 FM

Programme Date: 12 december 2017
Programme Length: 00:43:44

The Ethics Gap – part four

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Photo credit: futureatlas.com

My focus has been on grand corruption, the large-scale acts of fraud which endanger the very stability and rationale of our society and its key institutions. No act of grand corruption is possible in isolation. The only way to steal these large amount of money is to have the collaboration of responsible officials and professionals, who either look the other way or actively assist in the looting.

That was the case in Eden Gardens and the other episodes covered thus far. None of these acts of grand corruption would have been possible without the intentional help of professionals such as attorneys, engineers, accountants or even surveyors. Our current private and public sector systems rely on the professional standards and ethics of those professionals to ensure value for money. Continue reading “The Ethics Gap – part four”

AUDIO: Interview on Showdown on i95.5 FM – 26 November 2017

i95.5fm logoThis is the recording of my interview on I95.5FM’s ‘Showdown’ on Sunday, 26 November 2017 with Ralph Maraj, John Gill and Roger Lee in which we discussed the implementation of the new Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property system; the State’s infrastructure priorities; and the Hotel Facts research program which is to develop an informed approach to the Tobago Sandals proposal. It was an extensive and robust discussion, with significant call-ins and listener interaction. Audio courtesy i95.5FM.

Programme Date: 26 November 2017
Programme Length: 01:41:52

VIDEO: Bussin’ Files, Part 2 – 15 November 2017

This is the second in the Bussin’ Files series held at The Big Black Box on Wednesday 15th November 2017. In this episode we deal with the Hotel Facts research and its implications for the Sandals Tobago proposal.

I would like to thank The Big Black Box team for their support, without which we would have been unable to convene this seminar. I am especially thankful to Wendell Manwarren for being our host and MC. Video courtesy PixelPlay Media.

VIDEO: Hotel Facts Seminar at UWI – 9 November 2017

This is our Hotel Facts Seminar held at The UWI’s Noor Hassanali Auditorium on Thursday 9th November 2017 featuring Afra Raymond, David Walker and Rishi Maharaj of Disclosure Today.

We would like to thank Professor Rose-Marie Belle-Antoine, Dean of the Law Faculty, for her support, without which we would have been unable to convene this seminar. We also thank Rhoda Bharath of #newsauce and The Eternal Pantomime for being our MC/Moderator at such short notice. Video courtesy PixelPlay Media.

The Ethics Gap, part three

During my earlier writings on the CL Financial bailout I was very critical of the apparent silence of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Trinidad & Tobago (ICATT) in the midst of that huge financial crash. I took a very dim view of ICATT’s failure to make any clear statements at that time, during the period in which my friend, Anthony Pierre, was its President. To his credit, Pierre later appeared on my ‘Sunday Talk’ TV show on CNMG on 24th October 2010 to discuss the bailout together with former CLICO Sales Director, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Lawrence, and gave a great deal of insight.

chanka seeteram
Chanka Seeterram

This week’s column examines the struggles which have arisen from ICATT’s commendable attempts to exert its disciplinary procedures against one of its members, Chanka Seeterram, who testified at the Colman Enquiry on his role as auditor of the failed Hindu Credit Union. Chanka Seeterram is a Chartered Accountant of long standing, who was in his early career attached to Ernst & Young, now practicing as Chanka Seeterram & Co. in St Augustine.

This is the first time I am writing on the HCU, as I was advised to refrain from doing so by my attorneys due to the defamation litigation by both myself and our firm, Raymond & Pierre Ltd, against Harry Harnarine and the HCU group. That litigation arose from Harnarine’s scandalous statements against me and our firm on HCU’s Radio Shakti, spanned 2005-2013 and culminated in the High Court making a bankruptcy ruling against Harnarine. Continue reading “The Ethics Gap, part three”