Robinson renews call for FSC audit
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Julian Robinson has repeated his call for full transparency in relation to the $3 billion fraud at investment firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).
Specifically, Robinson wants an investigation into the oversight body, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) under whose watch the SSL fraud unfolded for a period of up to 13 years.
“The Opposition continues to call for full transparency in the handling of the theft and fraud allegations at Stocks and Securities Limited,” Robinson said while acknowledging the ongoing criminal investigation which is being spearheaded by various local law enforcement agencies with support from overseas.
He was speaking Tuesday as he made his contribution to the 2023/24 Budget Debate.
Continuing, he said “We want nothing to impede or interfere with that criminal investigation, because like all Jamaicans, we want the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“In this regard, we call for regular updates from law enforcement on the progress of the investigation, so the public and those investors who had their monies stolen can be kept updated”.
Robinson argued that the investigation aside, the other side of the issue “is an examination of the role of our local regulatory agency, the Financial Services Commission”.
“We do not accept that examining the role of the FSC will compromise the criminal investigation,” he declared.
He has repeated his call for the government to: release all FSC examination reports done on SSL plus Board minutes and reports done by the management to the Board related to SSL; conduct an audit of the FSC by the Auditor General to determine the appropriateness of its handling of the SSL matters and whether it had the resources and technical skills to effectively carry out its mandate and conduct audit of all government agencies which have investments in financial institutions to ensure that they are compliant with the guidelines of the Ministry of Finance.
“When we consider the amount of money involved, the failure of the mechanisms to prevent this situation, and the negative international attention this has brought to the country, full transparency is required,” Robinson argued.
He argued further that “democratic politics says that the government must be transparent and honest in conducting the affairs of the people, even when the truth reveals embarrassing details or failures”.
National icon Usain Bolt is among 40 investors who had their accounts depleted or completely wiped out in the SSL fraud. Bolt has reportedly lost in the region of US$13 million (J$2 billion).
Former wealth advisor at SSL, Jean-Ann Panton has since been slapped with several fraud-related charges and remains behind bars having been denied bail on two occasions, as the probe in the matter continues.