AUDIO: Interview on Power Breakfast on CL Financial bailout 31 July 2017

power102fmThis is my interview with Rhoda Bharath & Richard Ragoobarsingh on the CL Financial bailout on the Power Breakfast Show where we discussed the bailout, the lack of transparency and the debacle of its handling. Audio courtesy Power 102 FM.

Programme Date: 31 July 2017
Programme Length: 00:57:39

Advertisements

Joint Media Statement on the lack of Transparency in the CL Financial Bailout

Dear Collegues

Please see attached a Joint Media statement from Mr Afra Raymond (www.afraraymond.net), Mr David Walker and myself Rishi Maharaj (CEO Disclosure Today). “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” This quote seems to epitomize the current scenario the country is facing regarding the CL Financial fiasco. Over the past eight and a half years each of us in our own capacity have made several requests for financial information regarding the bailout.

Additionally The Prime Minister’s recent statement on the CLF legal actions also raises some interesting questions. There now seem to be more questions than answers after the Prime Minister’s statement but at least we have made a start.

It is therefore our view that in the best interests of protecting taxpayers, it is clear that the government should immediately lift the veil that they erected and be open with the public.
Regards,

Rishi Maharaj
Chief Executive Officer
Disclosure Today
http://www.disclosure.today | rishi@disclosure.today
120 Abercromby Street
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

TSTT Matters – How the MASSY-TSTT Merger Affects Us

I: Transparency issues

TSTT’s share purchase agreement, announced on 2 May 2017, to buy Massy Communications Ltd has provoked a great deal of sceptical or negative public comment. I will not attempt a critique of that deal since it is well beyond my scope: in any case, the basic details have not been disclosed. We have been told that the price is $255M and that the deal is conditional upon the approval of the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT).

The furore over this huge deal seems to be fueled by these three statements emerging from TSTT –

  1. Transparency – TSTT cannot reveal the details of the deal to the Parliament’s Public Accounts Enterprises Committee (PAEC) since it is not obliged to follow either the Integrity in Public Life Act or the Freedom of Information Act. Further, TSTT is required, as a listed entity, to follow the provisions of the 2012 Securities Act in regard to the secrecy of pending transactions. What is more, TSTT and Massy Communications Ltd are both bound by a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
  2. Accountability – The $255M purchase price is funded by $1.9Bn which TSTT raised from private lenders, so that money is presumed to be outside the definition of Public Money. One assumes, from the tone of those statements, that TSTT did not require a guarantee or letter of comfort from the State.
  3. Good Governance – TSTT stated that the first time the Cabinet would have been aware of this transaction is via the press. This returns to the issue of just where is the lawful and proper boundary between the Cabinet and the various State Enterprises for which it is responsible. This again sparks the debate as to whether TSTT is really a State Enterprise.

The second and third points will be covered in the next section. Continue reading “TSTT Matters – How the MASSY-TSTT Merger Affects Us”

Open letter to Central Bank Governor on CL Financial bailout

dr-hilaire-photo-2
Central Bank Governor, Dr Alvin Hilaire

30th January is the anniversary of the infamous 2009 CL Financial bailout, so I collaborated on this open letter to the Central Bank Governor, Dr Alvin Hilaire, to raise some urgent and important questions on the Central Bank’s management of this situation.

Our letter was sent on 31st January 2017 and was signed by David Walker, Disclosure Today and I.

Please read this and spread the word…

Remember that –

Silence is the Enemy of Progress!

Board Games again

boardgames2
Illustration © 2017 David Cave

SIDEBAR: The EFCL issue

The Board of EFCL was reported to have dismissed its CEO after he failed/refused to comply with their directions in a certain matter. There are allegations reported that the Cabinet attempted to direct the EFCL Board, which raises the perennial issue of the nature and extent of Cabinet authority over State Enterprises.

From both the Companies Act and the recent High Court/Appeal Court rulings in the eTECK matter, it seems clear to me that the Board of Directors have fundamental responsibility for the direction and control of the company. That is the legal position, but it seems that our fundamental political culture and conduct is in real conflict with notions of independent professional responsibility.

The State Enterprise sector is once again the subject of public concern on the good governance issues of accountability and transparency. Where does the power lie?

The two most striking issues emerging recently are the declaration of new accountability targets for State Enterprises and that the ‘EFCL Board fires CEO‘, reportedly in defiance of Cabinet directions.

The Accountability and Transparency Deficit is the first issue and it needs to be put into a timeline to illustrate the reality. Continue reading “Board Games again”