Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has referred the $13 million land deal involving the family of Independent Liberal Party deputy political leader Anna Deonarine family to Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard.
The transaction involves the purchase of a 20-acre parcel of land by Inal Deonarine and Shama Deonarine from Thakoor Boodram, (brother of Dole Chadee) for $225,000 and its sale to CLICO. The proceeds of the transaction was put into an Executive Flexible Premium Annuity account in Anna Deonarine’s name.
“I wish to refer this matter to you so that it may be considered during the on-going criminal investigation into the alleged fraudulent transactions that contributed and or led to the collapse of the CL Financial Group of Companies,” Ramlogan stated in his letter.
In his letter to the DPP, dated October 17, the Attorney General stated: “This transaction is highly suspicious, to say the least, and I would therefore welcome an investigation into same to determine whether a fraudulent, sham transaction which was designed as a vehicle to siphon funds out of CLICO and put it beyond the reach of innocent depositors and policyholders by placing it in the name of Ms Anna Deonarine-Rampersad.”
Ramlogan told the Express he decided to write the DPP because “it has been discovered and drawn to my attention today that the Mrs Deonarine (Shama), mere months after this transaction went down, was appointed a member of the board of directors of CLICO.
The land was sold to CLICO in April 12, 2005 and Deonarine was appointed to the board in September, 2005.
The Attorney General’s letter noted that a valuation was done by GA Farrell Associates for CLICO on February 28, 2005 which valued the land at $11 million, providing approval for residential development was granted.
Ramlogan said the land was sold by Mr and Mrs Deonarine in April, 2005 for $13 million and this money was credited to an Executive Flexible Premium Annuity account which was opened in the name of Anna Deonarine-Rampersad with a note stating “the sale of the property $13,000,000.00 is to the credited to the policy”.
The Attorney General stated that on May 27, 2008, planning permission to change the use of the land to residential land was denied by the Ministry of Planning, Housing and Environment.
“The fact that CLICO purchased this parcel of land for $13 million in the absence of permission and or approval from Town and Country Planning approval for it to be converted and used for residential purposes means that the company paid $13 million for a parcel of land that was probably not worth much more than the original $225,000 purchase price,” Ramlogan stated.
“There was an obvious duty of care on the part of the board and management of CLICO to ensure that such planning permission was granted before it paid the $13 million purchase price,” he further stated.
“In should be noted that his money did not actually leave CLICO but was rather immediately converted and invested into an Executive Flexible Premium Annuity account makes this transaction even more suspicious,” Ramlogan added.
“By placing the proceeds of sale into an EFPA in the name of Ms Deonarine’s daughter, Ms Anna Deonarine-Rampersad, the transaction represents a movement of artificial siphoning of funds out of CLICO into the name of a third party,” he stated. He noted that Mrs Deonarine was “suddenly” appointed a member of the board of directors five months after the transaction.
“The collapse of CLICO has cost the State and taxpayers of this country over $25 billion to date. Many citizens have died as a result of the sheer distress and frustration they experienced over their inability to access their savings. The financial loss has caused grave hardship, inconvenience and distress,” Ramlogan stated in his letter to the DPP.