Trinidad and Tobago Corruption Watch

Trinidad and Tobago Corruption Watch Trinidad and Tobago Corruption Watch is a civil society organisation that gathers, analyses and shares information on corruption in Trinidad and Tobago

Our Goal is to fight corruption by exposing corrupt Public Officials and promoting Good Governance in Trinidad and Tobago . We are particularly targeting Political Corruption. Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. The activities that constitute illegal corruption differ depending on the country or jurisdiction. For instance, some political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some cases, government officials have broad or ill-defined powers, which make it difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal actions. Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually.[1] A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, literally meaning "rule by thieves". Some forms of corruption – now called “institutional corruption”[2] – are distinguished from bribery and other kinds of obvious personal gain. Campaign contributions are the prime example. Even when they are legal, and do not constitute a quid pro quo, they have a tendency to bias the process in favor of special interests and undermine public confidence in the political institution. They corrupt the institution without individual members being corrupt themselves. A similar problem of corruption arises in any institution that depends on financial support from people who have interests that may conflict with the primary purpose of the institution.

Mission: Trinidad and Tobago Corruption Watch intends to ensure that the custodians of public resources act responsibly to advance the interests of the public. By shining a light on corruption and those who act corruptly, we promote transparency and accountability and protect the beneficiaries of public goods and services. Corruption weakens institutions, criminalises individuals and undermines social solidarity. Corruption Watch will provide tools of support for a more engaged and active civil society in Trinidad and Tobago. Each act of corruption that is prevented by our citizens underpins and fortifies civil society and thereby enhances democracy, the rule of law and the establishment of a more caring and just society.

Operating as usual


Its time to become active .....stay tuned.


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PORT OF SPAIN Property at Queen's Park East valued at $16.5m

NIB dishes out $37m without own evaluation


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THE National Insurance Board (NIB) did not do its own valuation of the Queen's Park East property that houses two restaurants-Apsara and Tamnak Thai as well as Siam Nightclub- until after it agreed to spend $37 million for it.

Instead, at the time the company relied on two valuations submitted by the owner of the property, R& M Ltd, which had it priced at $32 million.

On October 9, 2013, the NIB agreed to spend an additional $5 million on repairs which meant the final price paid was $37 million.

Four months after the sale was executed, on January 7, 2014, the NIB commissioned its own valuation by Linden Scott & Associates Ltd.

That firm placed the open market value of the property at $16.5 million.

'The valuator placed no value on the buildings, stating that the buildings on the property were over 60 years old and had outlived their useful economic lives,' an audit conducted by the Ministry of Finance's Central Audit Committee stated.

The audit report obtained by the Sunday Express was signed off on May 10, 2017 by director of the Central Audit Committee, Lester Herbert, and senior audit analyst, Khemkaran Kissun.

Premium price

Furthermore, the NIB paid a premium price of $2,014 per square foot for the Queen's Park East property, a rate higher than other properties bought around the Savannah at that time.

'A comparison of properties sold in and around the environs of 13 Queen's Park East showed the prices of three properties with buildings, which were demolished, ranged between $879 and $1,310 per square foot.

It was also noted a vacant piece of land that had special interest to the buyer was sold at a premium price of $1,534 per square foot, whereas in 2010 NIB itself purchased a vacant parcel of land, at 19 Queen's Park East at $1,004 per square foot.

Based on the price paid, and excluding the buildings on the property, it meant the NIB would have paid $2,014 per square foot for the land at 13 Queen's Park East,' the report said.

The NIB bought the restaurants and entered into a ten-year lease-back arrangement with the owners of R& M Ltd, Sharif Mohammed and Marie Kavanagh.

For the first four years, the tenant R& M would pay the NIB a monthly rental of $96,000 and $125,000 for the remaining six years.

After ten years, R& M had the option to repurchase the property.

The transaction's history

The property's sale was first proposed to the NIB in June 2012 by Claude Musaib-Ali, who acted on behalf of R& M Ltd.

The proposed sale and lease-back of the property was rejected by the NIB's Investment Committee on November 21, 2012.

In January 2013, Musaib-Ali again approached the NIB to reconsider its decision to reject the proposal.

The Investment Committee approved a counter proposal, this time under the guidance of Selby Wilson on behalf of R& M Ltd.

The sale was concluded on October 9, 2013.

The NIB's decision was based on: 1. Projected internal rates of return of 9.1 per cent and 8.94 per cent after five years and ten years.

2. The likely appreciation of the open market value of the property to around $51.89 million and $72.78 million after five and ten years respectively.

3. There were few comparable investments available locally.

4. NIB has over $3.7 billion in cash, earning interest on average of just 0.15 per cent per annum.

5. That the property was of strategic value.

6. That the property was of strategic value due it its close proximity to NIB's newly opened corporate headquarters.

The audit concluded that based on the documents reviewed and the events leading up to the NIB's Investment Committee agreeing to the counter proposal, 'it appeared that the NIB did not conduct a proper due diligence exercise prior to entering into this purchase and lease-back agreement'.

'It also appeared that NIB was either unaware or failed to acknowledge the negotiating strength it possessed at the time,' it said.

The Central Audit Committee based its finding on the following: 1. The fact that the agreement resulted from an unsolicited proposal from a representative of R& M Ltd, which was rejected.

2. The property was advertised for sale by the Mortgagee (Republic Bank Ltd) on October 16, 2012 edition of the Newsday.

3. Approximately three months after initially rejecting the proposal, the Investment Committee agreed that management should develop a counter proposal.

4. The fact that NIB did not commission an independent valuation of the property prior to making the decision to enter into the purchase and lease-back agreement.

5. The acceptance by NIB of the proposals presented by R& M Ltd, including the monthly rental values rather than the monthly rental value recommended by BCQS, one of the valuators commissioned by R& M Ltd.

'Going forward, it is recorded that whenever monies from the National Insurance (NI) Fund are to be invested, for whatever reason, that NIB carry out proper due diligence exercises, as a necessity, before entering into any agreement.

'It is also recorded that the NIB needs to be more vigilant in identifying when it is in a position of negotiating strength and make every effort to exercise such strength to ensure that the best value for money is attained in such a situation,' the audit said.

The auditors expressed concern that in 'the event that R& M does not exercise the options to repurchase the property, which is very likely if it is unfavourable to R& M Ltd, then according to Linden Scott & Associates Ltd, the buildings would have no value, not even to NIB'.

No final report to NIB

Asked to comment on the findings of the report, executive director of the NIB, Niala Persad-Poliah, told the Sunday Express: 'While the NIB can confirm that there was an audit by the Central Audit Committee of the Ministry of Finance, unfortunately an official/final copy of the report was neither provided to the NIB nor are we in possession of it. In these circumstances, at this point we are unable to comment on the findings of the report.'

Copyright (c) 2018 Trinidad Express, Edition 2/18/2018

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Team TTO

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City Of Port-of-Spain

General information

What is Corruption? Corruption is the abuse of public resources to enrich or give unfair advantage to individuals, their family or their friends. Corruption Watch is concerned with any such abuse of power or position by anyone at any level of government or in business. Examples of public resources: •Money, goods, vehicles, buildings and any other resources that belong to the government •Pension funds and medical aid funds •Trade union money and resources •Lottery money •Donations to charities Common forms of corruption: •A business or individual pays a bribe to a government official in order to be given a government contract or licence •The use of government-owned resources, such as motor vehicles, for private purposes •A government official takes advantage of his or her position to favour a family member or business associate for a job or tender contract. This is commonly called nepotism •A police officer solicits a bribe or a member of the public offers one in order to escape lawful punishment •A government official received kickbacks for award of contracts and grants Who does it affect? Corruption affects us all. It threatens sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice; it destabilises our society and endangers the rule of law. It undermines the institutions and values of our young democracy. But because public policies and public resources are largely beneficial to poor people, it is they who suffer the harmful effects of corruption most grievously. To be dependent on the government for housing, healthcare, education, security and welfare, makes the poor most vulnerable to corruption since it stalls service delivery. Delays in infrastructure development, poor building quality and layers of additional costs are all consequences of corruption. Many acts of corruption deprive our citizens of their constitutional and their human rights. How to Stop it The first step in bringing an end to corruption starts with you: obey the law and encourage those around you to do the same. Corruption Watch is encouraging all Trinidadians and Tobagonians to sign a pledge to be a responsible and honest citizen, and to undertake to: “neither pay nor take bribes; obey the law and encourage others around me to obey the law and to treat public resources respectfully; neither abuse any public money entrusted to my care, nor any position I hold as a public servant; act with integrity in all my dealings with government; and always remember that public resources are intended for the benefit of the public, not for private gain.” If you have suspicions that some form of corruption is taking place, you should report it; not only to us, but to an appropriate authority. In fact, people in positions of authority are required by law to report corrupt activities involving more than R100 000, or they are guilty of a crime. There are also a number of crime-fighting organisations and non-governmental organisations you can turn to with your suspicions, like the police or Integrity Commission or the Financial Intelligence Unit. However, it is not just up to individuals to take action. Companies too can help combat corruption.All businesses should develop anti-corruption policies and guidelines.Education and training for all employees about corruption and how to avoid or report it should be part of any induction programme. Businesses can establish whistle-blowing hotlines and internal audit procedures. They should ensure all employees, and particularly any involved in tender and procurement programmes, are aware of the law and their roles and responsibilities to obey it (and possible criminal charges if they do not). Companies may also want to extend their policies and practices to service providers and other business partners.


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K.R.Dee's Glass Limited. #124 Southern Main Road, Marabella. Tel: 653-9871 ; 653-9344. Good day, Due to the lack of effective action by the Government and the Financial Intelligence Unit [FIU] in handling Money Launderers, it is impossible for honest businessmen to survive. Therefore, we have no choice but to close our doors, effective 28th February, 2019. We thank the public for the support given to us throughout the years. N.B. All unfinished transactions will be honoured. Kris Ramdeen.