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State companies paid $170M in bonuses under UNC

By Earl Manmohan, Newsday

Trade and Industry Minister Ken Valley disclosed yesterday that $170 million was paid in bonuses by State companies in the five-year period of the UNC government between 1997 and 2001.

He said the compensation package of former TIDCO President Vishnu Ramlogan was between $72,000 and $75,000 a month and not $110,000. He said the difference was really bonus paid and this was the real issue in the controversy.

Valley was asked to comment on the findings of the Auditor General into TIDCO finances. He said the point made by the Auditor General was that Ramlogan assessed his own performance so he could be paid a bonus. "It was a case of himself assessing himself for bonus," he added.

Valley said two weeks ago he had informed the Cabinet that between 1997 and 2001, $170 million was paid in bonuses by State companies, in some cases by those losing money, some which had no policy relating to bonus, while others where the existing policy that salaries and bonuses had to be approved by Cabinet were not followed.

He said he told Cabinet this was what happened in the past and that it ought to be corrected.

Valley said this State companies have now been informed that from now on compensation packages must be approved by the Cabinet Committee headed by Junior Finance Minister Conrad Enill.

He said the salary of the current TIDCO CEO Brian Harry was about $45,000 plus other perks.

However, Valley added, it was not the salary issue, but the fact that bonuses were paid in a situation that lacked transparency.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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