This is a rapid look at some of the news coming out of the Colman Commission – the first live evidence was given on Monday 4th July.
That evidence has so far been into the Hindu Credit Union (HCU) and already some peculiar things are emerging. I do not follow it on TV and just read the newspaper reports –
- Breach of Trust – It seems clear to me that the depositors had a seriously misplaced faith in HCU and Harry Harnarine, which itself raises certain questions as to who was really fooling who. It is basic and inescapable that a higher rate of return will mean a higher level of risk, which is why it is important to be more sceptical about high-return investments. My point being that as a Credit Union, one has to become a member to participate and therefore one has a stake in the success of the organisation – with access to the accounts and attendance at the AGM, one can only wonder what kind of dance existed between the HCU chiefs and its ordinary members. Yet, we are hearing from people who seem to have deposited their money at these incredible rates of return and adopted attitudes of complete trust. The witnesses need to be more seriously probed on what happened at those AGMs and so on – if they HCU conducted its AGMs anything like the CL Financial’s final AGM, it will be quite a story. We need to get past the various heartbreaking stories, to the nexus of responsibility which is where this entire game is played. I am sure there is plenty more to come out, plenty more.
Farid Scoon, Attorney-at-Law – Was expected to explain how he could be representing a group of HCU depositors and the former HCU chief, Harry Harnarine, at the same time.
There also seems to be a strange situation on CL Financial, since I am told that none of the affected people are willing to come forward to testify. I am not very surprised at that and it is yet another indication of the extent of that toxic ‘Code of Silence‘.
What a shame! 25,000 policyholders said to be affected by the failure of CL Financial, yet only one is willing to testify. Only One! I wrote before in this space about the probability that a high proportion of those EFPA monies had never been screened by rigorous Anti Money Laundering (AML) procedures. I suggested to the Minister of Finance that provisions be made in the payout agreements for the applicants for bailout monies to have the source of their funds vetted for compliance with VAT, PAYE, Income and Corporation taxes. The Minister did not adopt those proposals.
So, what we now have is the spectacle of the Colman Commission set up by the government to examine the causes of the collapse and finding that few want to speak, very few. I don’t know if it’s dirty money, or ‘keeping it in the family‘ or what…but I do hope that Colman takes a robust approach by using his powers to sub-poena people to appear and testify.
The Colman Commission needs to deploy more resources in getting info up onto its website in a timely fashion. Just as a simple example, the opening arguments which were heard last week have been posted onto the website in very erratic, delayed fashion. The session of Monday 27th June was posted on Tuesday 28th June, but the sessions of Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th June were posted on Tuesday 5th July, no explanation given. If more resources are required those need to be deployed. The Colman Commission must not be allowed to become an orphan in our land of grandiose schemes and projects.
Of course we have seen the expected attempts by Lawrence Duprey to remove himself from being enquired into or even being required to answer questions. At this time those attempts appear to have been thwarted, but we can surely expect more spoiling tactics and not just from Duprey, either.