JIS News

KINGSTON — Chairman of the FINSAC Commission of Enquiry, Worrick Bogle, on Thursday chided the Financial Sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC) for failing to keep a list or copies of documents, including securities, transferred to the Jamaica Redevelopment Foundation Inc. (JRF) when it sold bad debts from the 1990s financial meltdown to the Texan firm in 2002.

The issues highlighted the latest appearance of FINSAC's General Manager, Errol Campbell, at the Commission of Enquiry into the meltdown, which is being held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

“I hear what you’re saying, but I think that begs for a lot of things,” Mr. Bogle told Mr. Campbell, after the FINSAC boss reconfirmed that the company did not have a list of the loans and securities, and now has to depend on the JRF for copies to present to the Commission.

Mr. Campbell explained that, as a safeguard, FINSAC had someone posted in JRF to vet information available from the documents, but the chairman insisted that it was very poor business practise. He pointed out that, without a master list, FINSAC has to depend solely on this person to do any cross-checks.

“So, if JRF should say they have sold all the securities, FINSAC would not be able to say, hold on there are securities that we have not seen come forward,” he pointed out.

“If I am selling or transferring something and I have residual interest in it, I would surely want to know that I have a copy of that…so that I could go to my master list and tick off properties or securities that have been sold,” Mr. Bogle commented.

Mr. Campbell, who also appeared at the enquiry in 2010, had raised eyebrows from then with his disclosures. He admitted that a large portion of FINSAC’s debts sold to the JRF were not verified, and that all he had were names and numbers. He also triggered concerns on the question of the open-ended sale of the bad debts, allowing JRF to charge uncapped interest, as well as the level of loans written off by FINSAC and the massive debt reductions in some cases.

The Commission's chairman also noted that there were gaps in Mr. Campbell’s testimony in 2010, which led to a request for documents to assist the enquiry.

Mr. Campbell said that FINSAC was attempting to get copies of the documents requested by the Commissioners. However, he said that so far he only has names and balances, but no list of the securities which were sold.

His attorney, Brian Moodie, told the Commission that FINSAC has an agreement with JRF allowing access to the documentation relevant to the transferred accounts and that, “we intend to see how far that access can take us in answering some of the questions and filling some of the gaps”.

The enquiry resumes on Tuesday, May 10, when Mr. Campbell’s predecessor as boss at FINSAC, Patrick Hylton, who is currently Managing Director of the National Commercial Bank (NCB), is expected to give evidence.

 

By BALFORD HENRY, JIS Reporter & Editor