$26 million remains unclaimed in Defunct Air Jamaica Pension Fund
MORE THAN 15 years after it was established, the now defunct Air Jamaica Pension Fund still has a total sum of $26,826,000 to be claimed by former employees of the divested national carrier.
In an email response to The Gleaner, Jennifer Carty-Peart, who is representing FirstCaribbean International Bank as one of three trustees of the fund, indicated that of the $26,826,000, approximately $23,639,500 is for unregistered beneficiaries.
She also indicated that the largest account to be claimed stands at $719,448.84
Carty-Peart also told The Gleaner that numerous efforts have been made to contact beneficiaries.
"Ads were placed in the newspapers, letters were sent to beneficiaries and updates placed on the defunct Air Jamaica website requesting unregistered beneficiaries to contact us," she said.
When asked what will become of the funds that remain unclaimed, Carty-Peart indicated that these will be handed over to the Government.
"We are in the process of requesting that these funds be transferred to the accountant general for the beneficiaries. When this is done, beneficiaries can claim same," she said.
In terms of the tax liabilities that would have been associated with the operation of the fund, Carty-Peart said "all taxes due from the fund were agreed and paid by the trustees".
The other two trustees of the fund are Joy Charlton and Dr Ian Blair, who serves as chairman.
The 2012 financial statements of the fund published on the defunct Air Jamaica website indicates that income earned from interest on investments stood at $3.3 million, up from $2.3 million in 2011.
Net expenses for 2012 came in at $4.5 million, of which $3.5 million was for fees paid out to the trustees. In 2011, the trustee would have pocketed $4.5 million in fees.
In 2012 also, a $1.5-million administrative fee was accounted to FirstCaribbean International Securities Limited which manages the fund, and $694,000 was paid out to beneficiaries
The Air Jamaica Pension Fund was established after a landmark 1999 ruling by the Privy Council, which held that $400 million left over from employees pensions, after Air Jamaica was privatised, be handed over to the employees under a scheme to be managed by trustees.
Since then, the trustees have been making efforts to contact beneficiaries so as to have them collect the monies owed to them.
Carty-Peart wants beneficiaries who are yet to collect to get in touch with the fund.
"People may contact us by telephone at 935-4732. They may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org," she said.