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Stop tarnishing reputations of ATL three

Published:Friday | June 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM


It is with regret that I continue to observe articles continuing to distort the facts surrounding the ATL pension fund trial. The reputations of three people vindicated by the court system continue to be called into question, as reflected by the comments of ordinary Jamaicans who reveal a complete misunderstanding of the facts of the case and the resulting verdict.

Take the article published in the Observer dated June 8, 2014 as an example ('Stewart unhappy but accepts magistrate's decision to free accused'). After a magnanimous statement, "But we are a country of laws and not men ...," the Observer goes on to lay out the following:

"But he (Butch Stewart) noted that the magistrate had upheld HIS contention throughout that the former executives had distributed $1.7 billion in pension fund surplus without GORSTEW's consent. Ignored is that fact that:

1. The ruling stated that while consent was implied, there was no internal mechanism in place to obtain this consent.

2. The ruling stated that proof of this was borne out in the findings of the Pricewaterhouse audit, completely contrary to what is stated later in the article.

3. Furthermore, in handing down the ruling, it was emphasised that a mechanism to obtain consent was put in place, but days after the trial had begun!

While not wanting to doubt Mr Stewart's emotional sincerity concerning his employees and their pension, conveniently ignored is that there was no explanation from Mr Stewart as to how he could achieve better returns on the investments, or the fact that the testimony of Mr David Davis by itself implies that the pension fund had been doing quite well up to that point.

Despite the ruling of the judge, the article then proceeds to unfold a story that cannot be verified and one which continues to regurgitate facts disparaging the characters of those involved. A story that:

1. Infers the entire trial was about consent, although the original charge was fraud, only changed to lack of consent when it became obvious that there was no evidence of fraud.

2. Revisits the subject of the 'forged letters', although the ruling by the judge clearly stated:

a) The manner of filing of said letters and,

b) The vetting of the letters by a third party are, in themselves, indications of lack of intent to deceive.


Doha, Qatar