Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 10th 2013 Contents news
November 10, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
RENUKA SINGH/SHALIZA HASSANALI
The Ministry of Finance is trying to
ascertain whether there is criminal liability
coming out of an audit conducted at
National Quarries (NQ). If they find that
there is criminal liability, this could lead
to legal action against former senior exec-
utives at the state-owned company.
Finance Minister Larry Howai on Friday
confirmed the audit to the Sunday Guardian
but said he could not disclose the details.
"I would not wish to provide details as
the matter may be subject to legal action,"
Howai said in an e-mail response to ques-
tions on Friday.
The audit, Howai said, was conducted
by his ministry s Central Audit Committee
of the Investments Division.
It was just after receiving this audit report
on October 25, that Howai dismissed former
NQ chairman Mitra Ramkhelawan. The rest
of the board subsequently resigned.
While he would not disclose the findings
in the audit report, he did say it was com-
missioned "based on reports/information
which came to hand both from within the
company and from outside."
He did not elaborate on what those inter-
nal and external reports contained.
It was reported that Howai was expected
to present a file to the Director of Public
Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard on this
Up to late Friday, Gaspard in a text
response to questions on the issue, said he
had "not yet" received any such file.
But Howai is now saying that such a file
may not be necessary.
"No report has been made to the DPP,
and no decision will be made until a deter-
mination as to whether there is any criminal
liability (if any) is arrived at," he said.
Prior to his dismissal, Ramkhelawan was
plagued by allegations of mismanagement
and financial impropriety at the state com-
Several groups including social group
Fixin TnT and the Communication Workers
Union as well as a petition signed by several
NQ employees called for his head after his
alleged behaviour was publicised.
There's nothing to implicate me
Yesterday, Ramkhelawan said he could
not understand what legal case could come
out of the findings of the audit.
The audit, Ramkhelawan said, was based
on the procurement of an excavator and
"At the end of the day, as far as I know,
and from what I have seen in the audit,
there was no wrong done on my part. The
audit could reveal nothing that implicated
me. I did not hold the position of an exec-
utive chairman. Every action was executed
by the CEO. I cannot understand what I
executed that could bring or cause an action
against me. I might just be a conduit for
information, but the actual execution and
overview (of the transaction) was for the
CEO," he said, refering to the purchase of
the two pieces of equipment by NQ.
He said NQ did a proper due diligence
on the purchase of the equipment, which
showed there was nothing wrong.
As soon as a new board is appointed at
state-owned National Quarries Company
Ltd (NQ) the matter involving the suspen-
sion of the company s CEO Sandra Fer-
nandez will be addressed.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Larry Howai
in response to an e-mail by the Sunday
Guardian about plans to reinstate Fernandez
at NQ, or if the Government was looking
for someone new to fill the position, stated
that he expected a new board to be appoint-
ed by Cabinet this week.
Fernandez was suspended last month by
NQ s chairman Mitra Ramkhelawan over
Days after Fernandez s suspension, Howai
Howai wrote: "The board will be respon-
sible for addressing matters pertaining to
Howai said he was not aware that workers
at NQ were upset over plans to reinstate
"The line ministry, the Ministry of Energy
and Energy Affairs has been exercising some
oversight of the company in light of the
fact that a new board is still to be appointed
and the permanent secretary of the ministry
or the substantive minister may have infor-
mation on these matters and may be able
to comment," Howai said.
TV Guide returns next Saturday
Owing to technical difficulties, we were unable to
print our popular TV Guide this week. Our apologies
to regular readers who look forward to it.
The TV Guide will return next Saturday.
New board will decide on NQ CEO
Howai: No National
Quarries file for DPP
...as ministry tries to ascertain criminal liability
Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler, from Venezuela,
gives a thumbs up after winning the 2013 Miss
Universe pageant in Moscow, Russia, yesterday. AP
Finance Minister Larry Howai
MISS UNIVERSE 2013
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