WHEN billionaire businessman Lawrence Duprey got an idea in his head, no one could sway his mind.
So said former CL Financial corporate secretary Gita Sakal as she returned to the witness stand at the commission of enquiry into the collapse of CL Financial and the Hindu Credit Union (HCU) yesterday to be cross-examined on her role in the controversial sale of CLICO Energy shares after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed which prohibited the sale of any group asset without State approval.
Duprey was the former executive chairman of insurance giant CLICO and its parent company CL Financial. British Queen’s Counsel Peter Carter, counsel to the commission, yesterday asked Sakal why in her role as corporate secretary, she did not advise Duprey against the sale of CLICO Energy shares to Barbados firm Proman Holdings.
“We are talking about CL Financial and I was not asked to advise and advice was not sought on this and I do not think anybody at CL Financial or within the CL Financial group of 60, 70, 200 whatever amount of companies could not allow the chairman to do something,” Sakal said.
“The chairman is a representative of the shareholders. The shareholders of this private company endorse whatever he does and he operates under their authority,” she said.
“Regardless of what I said he could have chosen to ignore me,” Sakal said.
Carter told Sakal that the daily running of CL Financial was operated by the board of directors and not the shareholders.
“Well in practice at CL Financial the chairman was the board. Legally this may sound silly but the board was a board that went along with and endorsed whatever the chairman said,” Sakal said.
Sakal said she still remains loyal to Duprey.