senator Wade Mark makes a strong point yesterday in the Senate,
presided by acting Senate president Rawle Titus, while the
clerks and Opposition senator Jennifer Jones-Kernahan examine
Photo: Karla Ramoo
The Anti-Corruption Bureau conducted investigations into a
series of short-term deposits totalling $138 million made
by the National Lotteries Control Board with Fidelity Finance
The NLCB had included a person accused in relation with the
airport project, junior Finance Minister Conrad Enill said
He alluded to links between the NLCB, at one time, and Fidelity
Finance and Leasing while replying in the Senate yesterday
to an Opposition question.
Fidelity Finance is one of several companies on corruption
charges related to the estimated $1.6 billion Piarco Airport
Several breaches of the National Lotteries Control Board Act
committed by officers of the NLCB board between 1998 and 2001
were under investigation by the relevant authorities, Enill
He also said a former minister gave the NLCB the authority
to make donations for sponsorships.
That was being investigated to see if it was in violation
of the Act, he added.
Enill was answering an Opposition question which called for
the government to give details on NLCB sponsorship and on
the briefs and payments made by NLCB to the law firm of Alexander,
Jeremie and Co Ltd.
Attorney General John Jeremie was a partner with the firm.
Enill said the NLCB sponsored 164 events between January 2002
to March at a cost of $3.6 million.
He listed various steelband and Carnival events, Phagwa, Divali
and Indian Arrival Day functions.
According to part of his reply, given in writing, the highest
figure provided by the NLCB was $225,000 for Caribbean Prestige
Promotions Soca Monarch 2003 show.
He said the NLCB paid the law firm of Alexander Jeremie and
Co $362,220 for investigations into the NLCBs operations
between 1998 and 2001.
He said the firm was one of two retained by the NLCB to investigate
certain matters connected with the operations of the board
in 1998, 1999 and 2001.
investigations showed several instances of breaches of the
Act by officers of the board which are at present under investigation
by the relevant authorities, Enill said.
He said the firm was briefed on two matters.
concerned investigations by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in
September 2003 into series of short-term deposits owned by
NLCB with Fidelity Finance and Leasing.
sum so deposited amounted to $138 million and the legal question
was whether the board had the power to make any of these deposits
in view of the provisions of the NLCB Board Act, which required
certain of the boards funds to be paid into the consolidated
concern to the bureau was the presence on the NLCB, as a director,
a person accused in relation with the airport project,
The second matter was the question of whether the NLCB had
the power to make donations.
UNC senator Wade Mark asked if the donations being distributed
as sponsorship by the NLCB were illegal and if the NLCB was
in violation of Section 23.
Enill said that matter came to his attention.
is a letter on file giving the NLCB board the authority to
do donations, by a letter from a former finance minister.
He said part of the issue was also whether that authority
and the way it was conferred, was in violation of the Act.
Enill said Alexander, Jeremie and Co had obtained ten legal
briefs for 22 matters from the NLCB.
The total paid to the firm between January 2002 and March
was $672,866 comprising legal briefs and the investigation
into the NLCB.
No retainer was paid by the NLCB between 2002 and this year.
He said the firm was one of a group of lawyers used by NLCB.
UNC senator Robin Montano took issue with the list of NLCB
sponsorship, saying he hadnt seen one Indian
on the list except for Balroop Sound Systems.
Enill said the procedures established to grant sponsorships
had been identified and followed.
Montano also questioned why the NLCB was assisting Citadel
Broadcasting Ltd with $11,500.
He said said Citadels CEO was Louis Lee Sing. He wondered
if there was any declaration of conflict of interest since
Lee Sing is also the NLCB chairman.
Enill said the sum was for a UTC/FCB symposium.
Montano also questioned why the NLCB sponsored firms such
as Carib Brewery.
Enill said the NLCB often assisted companies with big events.