THE Hindu Credit Union (HCU) financed Karen Nunez-Tesheira's successful campaign to become the Member of Parliament for D'Abadie/O'Meara in the 2007 general election.
However, Nunez-Tesheira was not the only People's National Movement (PNM) candidate who secured campaign financing from the HCU during that election.
This was revealed yesterday as the commission of enquiry into the collapse of CL Financial and the HCU resumed at the Winsure Building on Richmond Street in Port of Spain.
Nunez-Tesheira was the first of two witnesses to testify yesterday.
Nunez-Tesheira said she was alerted to the fact that the HCU was in financial difficulties, when former prime minister Patrick Manning called her to see what she could do as finance minister to assist the struggling credit union.
Manning did not give her any "explicit instructions" on how to assist the HCU, Nunez-Tesheira said.
"The government absolutely wanted to help the HCU, there is no question about it. The fact the prime minister called me and told me that, he does not do that. So the fact that he could call me, and he did not only call me once, he followed up on the matter and I know personally that he really wanted us to help the Hindu Credit Union without fear of contradiction," Nunez-Tesheira said yesterday.
She made the statement while being cross-examined by newly-appointed legal representative for the Ministry of Finance at the enquiry, Jagdeo Singh.
While the PNM wanted to assist the HCU they ensured everything was above board in their interactions with the credit union's executives, Nunez-Tesheira said.
"In my responsibility as the minister (of finance) had to make sure that we did it in a transparent and accountable way and I have already gone on record to say the Hindu Credit Union assisted me in my campaign," she said.
"If Mr Harnarine felt that when he came in to see me that it is was a fait accompli that I was going to overhaul rules and transparency and accountability and because he funded my campaign that it was payback time, I was not doing," Nunez-Tesheira.
Singh asked Nunez-Tesheira if she had disclosed that she had received campaign funding from the HCU to the Cabinet.
"Everybody knew that Hindu Credit Union was in D'Abadie/O'Meara, he was in other constituencies, everybody knew that," Nunez-Tesheira said.
"Not all politicians pay back their financiers," Nunez-Tesheira said.
Nunez-Tesheira said she never met with Harnarine without a technocrat from the Finance Ministry.
"In so far as conversation between both of us, I do not know if he thought I was naive, or whatever he may have thought of me, he probably thought I was under some instruction to do something which he was very mistaken about if that is the case. Every time he called me I knew he was taping my conversation," she said.
Nunez-Tesheira said she had "empathy" for the HCU and the government understood the "demographics" of the country and did not want it to be said that the PNM was only willing to assist people from Port of Spain.
She said the government was well on the way to helping HCU but because of Harnarine's "recalcitrant behaviour" the issue could not be properly addressed.
Nunez-Tesheira said when Ernst and Young presented a report showing that the HCU was in financial difficulties because of mismanagement she referred the issue to the Policy Formulation Committee (PFC).
Manning was the chairman of the PFC.
Nunez-Tesheira said the PNM Cabinet did not operate a "rubber stamp" for any decision.
Harnarine's attorney, Farid Scoon, yesterday said the HCU's financing of Nunez-Tesheira campaign landed its chief executive officer Ravi Bachan a seat on the Housing Development Corporation's board of directors.
Scoon said Nunez-Tesheira "pedaled information" on behalf of Bachan to land that position.
Scoon said the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd (UDeCOTT) was planning to buy the HCU's twin towers in Chaguanas for $40 million.
The HCU wanted $71 million to correct its financial woes.
Chanka Seeterram was the second witness to testify yesterday. Seeterram yesterday defended his company's audit of the HCU.
Seeterram and Senior Counsel Deborah Peake, attorney for the HCU liquidator, faced off several times during cross-examination yesterday.
At one point Seeterram said in response to a question by Peake: "I am hearing you but I am not taking you on."
Seeterram returns to the stand today as the enquiry continues.