'Hard to keep up with Central Bank demands'
Former president of Clico Investment Bank (CIB), Richard Trotman, said yesterday it was a "horrendous task" to produce annual financial statements as requested by the Central Bank.
"We had significant difficulties in providing audited financial statements on time. There is a requirement in the Central Bank Act to produce them and publish them within 90 days, I think," Trotman said.
"We had tremendous difficulties in producing them on time. Many times we were two, three, four weeks late. In 2008 it really ballooned and became a horrendous task," he said.
Trotman made the statements yesterday as he appeared on the witness stand at the commission of enquiry into the collapse of CL Financial and the Hindu Credit Union located at Winsure Building, Richmond Street in Port of Spain.
He was being examined at the time by junior counsel at the commission, Gerald Ramdeen.
Trotman said the CIB recognised it had "difficulties" in the loan portfolio.
In previous testimony at the enquiry it was stated that CL Financial executive chairman Lawrence Duprey and former CL Financial group financial director Andre Monteil had multi-million dollar bad loans with CIB.
Asked what led to CIB's poor loan portfolio, Trotman said:
"It would be management controls, staff turnover, staff training, it would be a host of issues which would have contributed to this matter."
Trotman said "everybody will have to take their share of responsibility".
Ramdeen said "the ratio of provision for loan loss to non- performing loans was 16 per cent and the ratio of total past due loans was 22 per cent as at December 31, 2007. The latter was significantly over the industry standard of four per cent."
Trotman was the third witness to take the stand yesterday.
Osborne Nurse testified at the enquiry before Trotman.
Nurse was a consultant at the Ministry of Finance when the State entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with CL Financial.
Nurse described CIB as a "lost cause".
Nurse said a company named Taurus was set up to transfer CIB's "non-performing" loans.
CL's assets were "by and large not in a good condition", Nurse said.
The ninth evidence hearing of the enquiry ended yesterday.
The tenth evidence hearing is scheduled to start on December 3.
Trotman is expected to be the first witness to testify when the enquiry resumes.