AUDIO: Shaw never knew about DBJ Outameni write-off decision under JLP government
Damion Mitchell, Editor – Radio & Online
Former Finance Minister Audley Shaw has sought to explain why he did not know that it was under his Government in 2011 that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) began making provision to write off $76 million in preference shares in the company that operated the Outameni Attraction.
The investment was eventually written off in 2013.
On Sunday, Shaw demanded that the Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips provide answers on the write off, and on Tuesday, he tabled related questions in the Parliament for the Minister to answer.
Among Shaw’s demands is for the Finance Minister to provide details of the investment made by the National Investment Bank of Jamaica or the DBJ in the enterprise known as Outameni as well as the shares held.
However, according to a statement released by the DBJ, it was under Shaw’s Government that the provision was made to write off the investment in the amount of $76 million.
Last night, Shaw explained that he was in the dark, because at the time, the DBJ was not under his portfolio but that of the Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
Golding could not be reached for his comment on the matter.
However, Shaw was asked, shouldn't the Outameni share write-off provision be public in 2011 when the JLP was in Government?
Mr Shaw said yes.
So then, where was the failure?
Shaw said for starters, it was under the People's National Party Administration in 2005 that the DBJ invested in Outameni.
The DBJ has said although it has written off the investment, the Preference Shares have not been cancelled, and so the Bank may collect in the event there is a turnaround in the fortunes of Outameni.
In the meantime, Shaw is insisting that the National Housing Trust failed to undertake the necessary due diligence when it decided to purchase Orange Valley Holdings, the owner of the Outameni property.
He says when the NHT requested from the DBJ, a letter of no objection to the acquisition, the Trust should have found out that Outameni was not profitable and that it had not honoured the payment of any dividend to the Development Bank on its investment.
*NOTE: This story had previously suggested that the write-off took place in 2011. That was not accurate. Actually, it was the write-off decision that was made at that time. The actual write-off was in 2013.
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