Clarke: No cost to be spared in SSL probe
Finance Minister Nigel Clarke is vowing to fund whatever it takes to get to the bottom of the ongoing fraud investigations at Stocks and Securities Limited, SSL, that will involve local and Jamaican experts.
Speaking with the Financial Gleaner after his presentation at the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s 18th Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference, the minister said the decision to engage overseas forensic experts in the probe will come at a high cost.
“We don’t know what those costs are at this point since we’re at the beginning, but whatever it takes, we will deal with it. We just have to move decisively,” Clarke said.
On Monday, the finance minister announced that the FBI and other foreign experts will be engaged to assist with investigations into allegations of a $3-billion seepage of funds at the investment company, more than half of which, the equivalent of US$12.7 million, belonged to sport celebrity Usain Bolt.
Clarke described the alleged fraud as a crisis, but one that can leveraged to create a better investing environment.
“We must seize the opportunities coming out of this crisis to make Jamaica better and stronger. The first opportunity is to make it known that Jamaica is a serious country where if you defraud investors, you will be caught, you will be brought before the law, and you will be punished,” Clarke declared.
The investigative bodies are determined to [unearth] all perpetrators, collaborators and co-conspirators, however small that number may be – and we have to keep open minds that it was perpetrated by a very small number of persons – or however large it might be. The investigators will get to the bottom of it,” he added.
The minister added that if missing funds were utilised to acquire other assets, legal proceedings for forfeiture would be applied.