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Howai not blaming anyone

By Asha Javeed asha.javeed@trinidadexpress.com

Finance Minister Larry Howai said yesterday that although the Ministry did not support the election of the four nominated directors to the board of First Citizens, this is not to be taken as casting any blame or imputing any impropriety on the part of anyone involved.

In a statement e-mailed to the Express, Howai was questioned on why the Ministry of Finance took the decision to vote out the directors.

The Express understands that Howai had twice requested the resignation of the board following the Rahaman scandal but the board had refused because they insisted there was no wrong-doing on their part.

 “The Ministry of Finance has noted the many concerns which have accompanied the recent IPO of 20 per cent of the shareholding in First Citizens.

“What started off as a highly successful initial offer of shares to the public eventually led to concerns in a number of quarters about the allocation process and the possibility that what was intended to have been an opportunity for more widespread ownership of a successful local institution, could have been subverted,” he said.

“The Ministry of Finance and the Economy acknowledges that the guidelines for staff participation in future IPOs need to be revised and has initiated changes to the process to prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate aspects of this first IPO,” he said.

He noted that the investigation surrounding certain matters arising from the IPO is still subject to investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and chose not to make any further comment on this matter at this time.

“The Corporation Sole thanks the retiring directors for their contribution to the organisation. The Ministry of Finance and the Economy has asked for an adjournment of the meeting, which was supported by the members present, and will re-constitute the meeting within 30 days to ensure that the vacancies arising from this AGM are filled within the shortest possible time,” he said.

“First Citizens is a highly successful financial institution. It is one of the largest financial institutions in the region, it is very profitable, it is well respected, having been named Bank of the Year on several occasions and its international credit rating is the highest for any indigenous financial institution in the English speaking Caribbean. We believe that the institution will continue to grow and prosper in the years ahead and it remains an institution of which the Republic is proud. The Government will do all that it can to ensure the continued success of the institution,” he said.

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