HARRY Harnarine's salary during his ten years as head of the Hindu Credit Union (HCU) was equivalent to that of a "CEPEP worker pulling bull", his attorney, Farid Scoon, said yesterday.
CEPEP is the acronym for the State-funded Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme.
Scoon made the statement yesterday as he re-examined Harnarine at the Commission of Enquiry into the collapse of CL Financial and the HCU at the Winsure Building, Richmond Street, Port of Spain.
Scoon said during the course of the enquiry unnecessary fuss had been made about Harnarine's remuneration as the head of the HCU.
"Mrs (Deborah) Peake (senior counsel), my good friend who is the attorney-at-law representing the liquidator in these proceedings, brought to the public your most extravagant spending in HCU. I would like to take a minute to investigate that," Scoon said.
Scoon said Peake mentioned Harnarine was paid a $30,000 Christmas bonus over the period 2000-2008.
When calculated as a average, this worked out to only $3,750 a year, Scoon said.
"This was your Christmas bonus for running a million-dollar industry?" Scoon asked rhetorically.
Scoon then noted Peake mentioned Harnarine received a $165,000 commission.
Harnarine disputed that he was ever paid a commission.
"Even if you do not dispute it, it is $1,375 a month (over the ten years)," Scoon said.
"And then you got reimbursement of $28,000, that would be an average of $2,800 a year, right I do not even want to put it a month, that would be 12 into $2,800 ... $200 ... similar to what my weekly salary is," he said.
"And your salary was $280,450 over that ten-year period which was $2,337 per month. I dare say you were paid like a CEPEP worker pulling bull," Scoon said to laughter.
Scoon then focussed on Harnarine's travel expenses.
"But your travel, your travel Mr Harnarine is a problem. They say $5 million travelling," Scoon said.
Harnarine said the travelling expense was not for his individual purpose but his delegation.
An agreement was also signed by Harnarine which stated he would be personally liable if he could not "provide bills to the credit union to justify the expenses".
"Somebody would not sign an agreement like that if they wanted to thief money would they?" Scoon said.
"Somebody said something about you yesterday and I do not want to repeat it but if you signed that agreement (and still intended to steal) you would be that four-legged animal," he said.
"Yeah, I feel so," Harnarine said.
Scoon was referring to a situation at the enquiry on Thursday when lead counsel to the commission ,Queen's Counsel Edwin Glasgow, accused Harnarine of "making an ass" of himself.
"In fact, Mr Harnarine, you are so strange that even the Fraud Squad say they passing back your file because they can't find nothing in it," Scoon said.
"That was said to me," Harnarine said.
Harnarine yesterday ended his four-day stint on the enquiry's witness stand.
The enquiry is scheduled to resume on September 19.