PNP raises new questions on SSL following multimillion dollar fraud Loop Jamaica

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Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Opposition People’s National Party is demanding a special audit of the troubled investment firm, Stock and Securities Limited (SSL) to ascertain whether public funds were misappropriated in the multi-million dollar fraud scandal now engulfing the firm.

Speaking at an NEC conference meeting on Sunday, Julian Robinson, the Opposition spokesperson on Finance, questioned whether government agencies had investments or accounts at SSL.

“We want to know whether government agencies had investments or accounts at SSL and what the status of those accounts would be, and whether the FSC itself had an account, whether it invested money at SSL and whether it had any other relationship with SSL. It is important that taxpayers know whether those monies that would have been invested on behalf of the public purse are safe and whether those funds are sound,” Robinson said.

Robinson said the Opposition is calling on the Auditor General to conduct a special audit of the FSC.

“We believe it is important for the light to be shed on what took place at the FSC in terms of the decision-making around SSL,” he said.

The investigation into the multi-billion-dollar fraud at Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) went into a new phase as police searched two premises in the Corporate Area that they say are connected to suspect Jean-Ann Panton and seized documents as well as electronic devices.

Track and Field superstar Usain Bolt is one of several persons who have been bilked of funds in the massive fraud.

Robinson also appealed to the Minister of Finance, Dr Nigel Clarke, to address the role of the FSC in regulating the activities at SSL.

“We are calling for the Minister of Finance to indicate to the country whether the staff of the FSC sent what is called an examination report to the board for the years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 in relation to what was happening at SSL,” Robinson said.

Robinson also wants the Minister of Finance to “indicate whether the board of the FSC sent to him, the Ministry of Finance or his predecessors reports of the operations of SSL and whether they indicated to him as Minister the concerns they had about SSL and the state that the entity was in”.

“Did the Minister of Finance share these reports with the Cabinet or the Prime minister of the country? It’s very important in the interest of transparency and openness that these reports if they were done, be made public,” Robinson said.

The public has a right to know what the FSC did when they had the information and they have a right to know whether the staff made recommendations to the board and whether these recommendations were acted upon,” Robinson added.

Last week, the Minister of Finance Dr. Clarke issued a statement that “there will be full transparency”.

“No stone will be left unturned in unearthing exactly how funds were allegedly stolen, who benefited from such theft, and who organised and collaborated in this,” Dr Clarke said.

Dr Clarke also pronounced that the directors and managers of SSL must account for their stewardship.

“There are many questions to be answered, such as the time period between becoming aware of this fraud and informing the regulatory and investigative authorities and the actions taken in the interim, among other matters,” Dr Clarke said.