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Five public bodies should give more details about investments at SSL - Haughton

Dr. Andre Haughton and JAS President Lenworth Fulton
By Kimone Witter 
 
Economist Dr. Andre Haughton is calling for the five public bodies which have balances at troubled investment firm, Stocks and Securities Limited, to provide more details of the investments to the public.
 
Mr. Haughton is suggesting that as part of increased transparency in the securities dealers sector, government ministries and agencies should also be made to disclose investment of tax dollars.
 
 
Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke told a media briefing on Monday that the balances total just under J$1 billion.
 
Dr. Haughton says while it is not unusual for government ministries and agencies to invest taxpayer funds, there should be proper vetting of the financial institutions. 
 
"Take NHT for example. They have idle money there that everyone puts. What do they do with this money? They have to put the money in the market in order to get a rate of return. What is not bad is that NHT wasn’t overexposed to a company like SSL. So we have to be very grateful for that," he said.
 
Dr. Haughton suggested government entities will now have to "look carefully and do our due diligence with these companies that we put taxpayers monies in" to facilitate greater transparency.
 
He was speaking Tuesday on TVJ's Smile Jamaica.
 
Not aware                   
 
The Jamaica Agricultural Society, one of the public bodies identified as having funds in Stock and Securities Limited, said it has launched an investigation to gather more information about the disclosure.
 
It was revealed that the entity has a balance of more than $8.9 million with the investment firm.
 
JAS President Lenworth Fulton told Radio Jamaica News that he was not aware of the investment at SSL.
 
"We have never had that name on the balance sheet but we have some stocks, and I was told that they were our brokers many years ago before the era in which I manage and before even the era for Norman Grant and Glen Harris. So those relationshsips with that organisation would have been beyond 2000," he explained. 
 
Mr. Fulton said the JAS is working with an external auditor to get further details. 
 


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