Wednesday 4th May, 2008

 

Hart illegally appointed as NIB chairman—Mark

 
 
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BY KYLE JEREMIAH

Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate Wade Mark has alleged that embattled chairman of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) Calder Hart was illegally appointed as chairman of the National Insurance Board (NIB).

In the Senate yesterday Mark said in 2005 Prime Minister Patrick Manning (also Finance Minster at the time) appointed Hart as chairman contrary to the stipulations of the National Insurance Act.

According to Mark, the Act stated that the Government was able to appoint three members to be designated directors—one of whom appointed to represent its interests was Hart.

But after the seat of chairman became vacant in 2005, Hart was chosen although the Act stated that a person appointed as chairman should be, in the opinion of the Finance Minister (then Manning), independent of Government business and labour, Mark said.

“This is a very serious matter—it generates conflicts of interests and financial risks,” Mark said.

He added that he had information that the Governor of the Central Bank was about to introduce legislation through the Finance Minister which would include barring individuals involved in financial matters or organisations from sitting on more than one or two boards.

Hart is the chairman of four financial bodies—the T&T Mortgage Finance Company (TTMF), NIB, Nipdec and Udecott and is a director of the Home Mortgage Bank.

“The NIB controls about $18 to $19billion of assets on behalf of the citizenry.

“We are concerned and the national community is concerned that the PM and the Minister of Finance, who is supposed to hold the law of this country, is the biggest lawbreaker.

“He has violated both the spirit and the letter of the NIB Act in appointing Mr Calder Hart to chair the NIB,” he said.

Mark went on to call for the immediate removal of Hart as NIB chairman.

In an immediate response to Mark’s allegations, however, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Mariano Browne rose to his feet to defend Hart’s appointment, saying Hart “satisfies the definition of independent.”

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Designed by: Randall Rajkumar-Maharaj · Updated daily by: Nicholas Attai