Questions about that $60m theft

Express Editorial
May 11, 2015 –

TheftIt is not enough for Finance Minister Larry Howai to say that he expects all of the $60 million stolen from the National Energy Corporation’s account at First Citizens to be recovered. What is needed is prosecution of those who stole the money and full accountability from officials of the two State enterprises who were entrusted with managing the $60 million in public funds.

As Minister of Finance, and as the official who, at the time of the theft, straddled both National Energy and First Citizens, as chairman and CEO respectively, Mr Howai remains uniquely placed to inform the public on this matter and to press the case for prosecution. And yet, almost four years after the theft, there is still no arrest and no clear public statement about precisely what occurred in this matter. There have been reports of employees suspended at both companies, but all returned to work, presumably cleared of complicity in the illegal wire transfers.

National Energy’s confirmation that it has recovered $35 million of the stolen $60 million, raises new questions. If the parties knew where to find the money, why has the investigation not yielded information about the conspirators as well? This is a criminal matter that requires the involvement of Interpol and the various criminal authorities in the jurisdictions involved, including the US, the United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Guyana.

The response of acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams is curious, to say the least. Speaking to the media, he claimed to be unaware of the investigation being conducted by the Fraud Squad into this matter. His response raises questions about police diligence in this case and the extent of its role. Are the police leading the probe with a view to prosecution or is it merely facilitating the recovery of the money under instruction from company executives?

Mr Howai should recognise the intense public interest in the illegal diverting of National Energy’s funds, especially following questionable expenditure at the National Gas Company, a fellow member of the NGC Group of Companies. In the absence of an independent criminal investigation into the stolen millions, the increasingly sceptical public is also entitled to wonder about the possibility of other agendas at work.

One of T&T’s outstanding failures is the investigation of white collar crime involving public funds. The inability of the police to act decisively in such cases raises concern about whether police investigators are equipped for the job or even know how to approach a probe when it involves Government bodies and agencies of the State. Too often, these investigations are under the authority of public officials who should not be allowed into the investigation process. National Energy’s stolen $60 million is not a private company issue. It is grand theft that needs a full and independent investigation that leads to the culprits being hauled before the courts and jailed.


7 thoughts on “Questions about that $60m theft”

  1. It happens all the time. Big business, government subjected to fraud. Out of the $60 million, $25 million remains outstanding. This has nothing to do with the government since the Fraud Squad is investigating. One former minister signed cheques totaling $2.7 million for a building with nothing to show. That person still has not been charged. Another former minister managed a secret scholarship program she is still walking free….

    1. Mamoo, I just want to ask you one simple question. The UNC came into office seeking retribution and supposedly seeking to recover ALL the money that, based on their accusations Mannig stole. Anand Ramlogan was supposed to unleash a super team of lawyers to detect, prosecute and bring to justice all the so-called wrong doings of the Manning administration. After spending close to half a billion dollars and NOT ONE conviction, what has become of the loot taken by the super lawyers and Anand Ramlogan’s promise to bring them to justice?

      1. Ask the DPP that question. The former AG was going after several PNM thieves, that is why Rowley set him up.

  2. AS with lady Kamla he would “he did not know” to save his arse.

  3. Rowley: Govt must account for stolen money

    Tuesday, May 12 2015

    OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday demanded that Government take full responsibility for $60 million which has reportedly been funnelled from the accounts of the State-owned National Energy Corporation (NEC), recover all public money that has been stolen and ensure the persons responsible are brought to justice.

    In a statement, Rowley said, “There is now confirmation that $60 million belonging to the people of Trinidad and Tobago have been stolen from the NEC through the First Citizens Bank (FCB). These are two State enterprises under the direction and control of the Government by way of appointed boards and other officials.”

    Rowley first spoke about this matter at a People’s National Movement (PNM) public meeting in Malabar last Thursday. He said it was very disturbing to hear Attorney General Garvin Nicholas describe his exposure of this issue as “playing smart with foolishness.”

    Rowley, who is also PNM political leader and Diego Martin West MP, said it was also unfortunate that Nicholas further stated this has “nothing to do with the Government since it is a fraud by an external party”.

    “The PNM rejects this position of the Attorney General and the Government and demand that the Government take full responsibility through all the relevant agencies to recover all public money which have been stolen and to ensure that any and all persons who engaged in this grand theft be held accountable to the full extent of the law,” he declared.

    Rowley added, “The matter requires a thorough investigation if public confidence in the management of state resources is not to be damaged by these and similar acts of corruption.”,211014.html

  4. Forget about the 60 million that is small ting, look at the big picture, we only have oil in tt, so only oil money building all these highways, buildings, buying bmw prados benz etc, only oil buying all those yatches and all those fetes, only oil payin nurses police regiments, only oil building 5 million dollars houses all over the country, sports cars, jhonny walker blue,vodka, only oil….how come oil can’t stabilize the cost of living? what makes it worst how come oil money going back to china, guyana, jamaica, venezuela, colombia via western union and bank wire? non of these countries helps us toil our so called oil. the government thinks ppl foolish in tt but what they don’t know is that we just watch and observe the bitter outcome of criminals.


    Yeah Sat ,and as my late,extremely wise ,Tobago Granny,would often say, to yours truly,back in de day-‘birds of a feather,flock together,’and was she spot on.
    Yep,you love Rammy de ego inflated -legal crook,and so did your ardent spiritual devotee Kamla,his one time boss,who could not bring herself to fire him,irrespective of how much his ‘dirty rear end’ was exposed,or rather, how many times ,he was caught ‘double dipping ,’in the depleting, Trini economic-cookie jar,si?

    Cut it out Neal,as you are finally beginning to sound like some non progressive hater!
    Show a bit of luv ,for ex Ag Rammy,if you can.If Sat say he is fine ,them maybe ,the un-electable ,politically uncouth brat, was just misunderstood.
    Speaking of the evil,Afro Trini kids despising cretin Sat,and his tribal track record ,what’s de latest folks ,with that HCU affair?
    Can you folks remember,when the flame-throwing ,fake Bramin coward ,once advised poor members of the tribe, to take out all their hard earned ,retirement,pension savings ,from dem low interest, allegedly mismanaged,African controlled ,financial institutions,so as to join up instead with ‘weeee own thing,’only to have Hare Harinarine ,make off ,in (Howai First Citizens Bank styled) like a Florida sixteen room mansion,egg sucking dog?
    Can most of you recall,how in the early aftermath ,of this national fiasco,and outrageous injustice on chiefly,low end Caroni workers,how he Sat, suddenly fearful for his life, ran to the maligned police, and begged for protection?
    Yes sariii,for many tribal victims,were planning to have a simi literate,Afro Trini-blur color criminal,grab him ,tie him up naked, on the Caroni,or POS East Dry river bridge ,then beat him with a cat- o -9 tail ,to within an inch of his pitiful life,cut off his …ummmm..little toes,stuff them in his mouth ,while bathing him in hot oil,then finally leave the bastard to die ,a slow miserable ,justified death?
    Well ,fortunately for him ,and still uncharged, UNC financial high roller, Hari Harinarine ,Kamla ,as expected ,came to de rescue,as she proceeded to further empty our treasury,to bail out the now defunct Credit Union.
    Including with state guaranteed bail out packages ,we can add, 500 plus acres of prime, state lands ,given away to pensioners,for their silence ,and eventual elections support ,and de rest we can say is history.
    How bout dem Africans ,living in those Lavantille ,Caranege ,upper Gonzales,Never Dirty Movant ,and Beetham ,Brazilians like favellas? We know ,nada for dem… and why? The cynic in me might say -wrong ancestral gene pool,y wrong political allegiance,hmmmm?
    Wait a cotton picking moment Neal,and just where are you taking this ?Ain’t it fair to say that our Indo Trini ,tribal rivals ,are suffering de same terrible fates ,as their historically neglected ,Afro Trini brothers/sisters?

    Very well then,I take all the above back,for the record would certainly show that more have died ,in gruesome fashion ,either by imported guns ,or negligence-especially since ,Kamla ,and her political gang ,rode their water buffalos to town.

    One therefore needs to show some empathy-even if such might not be reciprocated,hmmm?
    My heart therefore bleeds for de victims of these two tragedies.
    Porous unprotected borders ,equals guns ,drugs ,and sometimes criminal illegals . Hey Rammy ,and Kamla ,you both have blood on your hands,as those OVP patrol boats ,and a few less hired crooks ,at our customs ,could have made a big difference.
    Hey Dr Goopiesing ,you too,as dem under trained, quick to the deadly scalpel- one time ,UWI student doctors ,of yours ,are making de old saying -‘the chicken has come home to roost,’a distinct truism,hmmmmm?
    Hey folks ,I’ve said it once,twice,and three times my lady,but it’s worth repeating,’de person who can make me hate this land of mine,ain’t born yet.’
    Stay vigilant T&T!

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