Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 28th 2014 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
A report on a probe by the National Entrepre-
neurship Development Company Ltd (Nedco)
board into the conduct of two senior Nedco offi-
cials will be made shortly, says Labour Minister
McLeod confirmed this in the Senate, yesterday,
while replying to Opposition questions.
On April 12, the T&T Guardian reported exclu-
sively that McLeod had confirmed the Nedco
board was examining the conduct of two Nedco
officials "in the performance of their functions
at the company."
Sources also indicated the two officials were
"offline" at that time pending inquiries.
Yesterday, the T&T Guardian confirmed that
former Nedco CEO Ramlochan Ragoonanan, who
had been on vacation up to April, has left and is
no longer CEO. Ragoonanan had been Nedco CEO
since October 2011.
Yesterday in the Senate, McLeod said the Nedco
board had been dealing with the probe into certain
officials' conduct and he and the Government
were to be properly informed.
"As soon as all of that is done, I'm going to
make an appropriate statement---not here---on
that particular matter in short order," McLeod
He declined to answer queries as to whether
the probe was in connection with alleged financial
impropriety or procurement irregularities.
McLeod said he had been indicating in earlier
statements to the Senate the state of things at
Nedco under the previous PNM administration
and "So as not repeat the sins of the past, we
have been very particular about the performance
of every single employee from CEO down to the
last recruit, in any organisation that has to do
with this ministry and this particular govern-
ment," McLeod added.
Nedco, governed by the Labour Ministry, is a
state-owned, private limited-liability micro-
finance company established in August 2002
under the PNM. It was designed to be the imple-
menting agency for government policy on micro
and small enterprises.
Replying to other Opposition questions, McLeod
said at yesterday's Senate sitting an audit is being
done of Nedco loans from its inception under the
PNM to date, and so far the only delinquent loans
were under the PNM's tenure.
"But we're doing reasonably well," he added.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, May 28, 2014
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Govt buyout for ex-Nedco CEO
In the T&T Guardian's April story on the probe,
Ragoonanan, who was CEO at the time, said he
was unaware of any inquiries or any investigation.
He said he was on "urgent" leave concerning a
family matter and had not received any official
correspondence from the board about any inquiry.
Ragoonanan had said he had taken leave on his
own and had not been asked to.
Asked about allegations concerning the company
and any probes, he said Nedco had several audits
ongoing, but that was in the line of normal work.
Ragoonanan had confirmed another senior
official had also taken leave, but noted that official
had applied for it before his own leave.
Asked about complaints at Nedco, he'd said
there "were always complaints in a work place and
there were always people with complaints." But he
said he knew of no specific complaint being raised.
Ragoonanan said then he would be open to
giving any information required by any enquiry.
Yesterday, Ragoonanan declined to say if he had
given any information to anyone or in response to
He said subsequent to taking his vacation, he
had requested a buyout of his contract, and it had
been mutually agreed to by Nedco.
"And I've moved on," Ragoonanan said,
confirming he is no longer Nedco CEO.
On why he sought a buy-out, Ragoonanan said,
"At this point it was more feasible for me to take a
buyout in order to pursue another option which
had been on the drawing board for some time, and
I wanted to undertake."
Ragoonanan said since he had left Nedco, he
preferred not to make any further comment on the
The T&T Guardian yesterday confirmed from
Nedco that Julian Henry, who had been acting as
CEO since Ragoonanan went on vacation, is still
acting in the position.
Nedco officials said another person connected
with the Ibis programme who was on leave at the
same time Ragoonanan was on vacation has not
yet returned to work.
They said another official was handling the Ibis
programme in the absence of the individual
Contacted yesterday, a Nedco board spokesman
said investigations were continuing and would be
completed in "due course."
McLeod said Nedco gave 330 loans ranging from $1,000 to
$15,000 in value, totalling $3.5 million between 2011 and 2013.
Sixty-one others with a total value of $9.9 million were given, with
the loans ranging between $100,000 and $250,000.
McLeod said under the previous PNM administration large loans
were given merely on the word of someone or a phone call.
"There was an instance of a loan of $250,000 given at a time when
the ceiling was only $30,000," McLeod noted.
He said up to December 2013 there were 123 employees of Nedco,
of whom 117 were full time.
Total salaries and emoluments totalled $1.2 million a month.
Nedco also pays $700,069 in rent---ranging from a low of $7,000
to a high of $126,000---for 17 office locations around T&T, including
two offices at Penal for Nedco and Nedco's Ibis programme, he
FLASHBACK... In this March 31, 2013, picture, Minister of Labour and Small
and Micro Enterprise Development Errol McLeod, centre, cuts the ribbon to
open Nedco's Ibis office in Sangre Grande. From left are then-Nedco CEO,
Ramlochan Ragoonanan, deputy permanent secretary Sheryl-Anne Haynes,
Nedco chairman Dr Natasha Ramkissoon, and Ibis office manager Nigel
Suchit. PHOTO: ALANA SURAJ
FORMER CEO COMMENTS
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