30 Aug 2007

A case of Monteil-ado

This André Monteil affair keeps getting better and better. First Pa-trick was saying that the man broke no laws by buying shares in Home Mortgage Bank (HMB). This while he was chairman of the bank, thus effectively selling or authorising the sale of the shares ($110 M) to himself.

Now comes the first eyebrow raising scenario.
On August 17, Manning told Parliament that Monteil had been cleared by the Central Bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission of any wrongdoing. Monteil is the treasurer of the ruling People's National Movement (PNM).
So, according to both the Central Bank and SEC, the transaction was done above board, put your eyebrows back in place.

Next, we learnt that:
  • Monteil is treasurer of the PNM
  • Monteil is the group financial director of CL Financial, the parent company of Clico and the chairman of Clico Investment Bank.
  • The shares were initially Clico's.
  • The sale was facilitated by a 2007 amendment to the Home Mortgage Bank Act (coincidently passed by a PNM administration).
  • Clico provided the funds to Monteil to purchase its shares for himself.
Now Pa-trick is saying that although no laws were broken, he referred the matter to the DPP and the police.Oh, and the Integrity Commission, that set of toothless bulldogs. Hey, isn't that tantamount to wasting police time? People have been convicted and jailed for less.

What exactly are they hoping to find? That's like calling the police to report your neighbour for buying chickens from the farm he's managing, with funds provided by said farm, and where the owner of the farm is bosom friends with him.

Today, the newspapers are all reporting that Pa-trick is going to have the shares transferred back at the same price it was transferred out. How? By using moral suasion? Heck, I don't think that works, because all that Tobago hospital material still at Landate Housing.

Hold on, the story is not quite over. Pa-trick said in Parliament of all places, that the files were sent over to the DPP and duncey commissioner Trevor Paul.

Um, where did files come from? Does this mean that the PNM/Finance Minister (Pa-trick himself) had paperwork to back up this deal?

Anyway, Trevor Paul obviously couldn't get his head out of Pa-trick's arse in time to think, so he could only say 'Umm, if the PM say so, is so'. The DPP, having already swallowed both feet over several punishing affairs (not the least of which is McNicolls and André Monteil in some land deal that netted McNicolls a cool little nest egg - again, land owned by Clico), now can't afford to swallow any more lest he chokes. So he flatly denies receiving any files.

As an aside, it seems to me that Clico stands to gain no matter which party wins the election. First there is the matter of a $1M 'scholarship' paid to Oma Panday, now Clico buying shares for the PNM treasurer. And to safeguard itself from the 'legal' stand point, I assume that's where McNicolls comes in.

I couldn't help notice the disparity in the $1M and $110M though.