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Six for a nine

audit: T&T did not get value for money in sale of heathrow slots

PORT OF SPAIN — A forensic management audit commissioned by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has found that Trinidad did not get value for money in the 5 million sale of its prime slots at Heathrow Airport in London, England, by the former BWIA to British Airways in 2007.

The audit committee found that the fair market value of the slots then ranged from 23 million to 44 million.

The slots are used for the loading and unloading of passengers and baggage and re-fuelling and re-stocking of the aircraft at Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports.

In March 2011, Persad-Bissessar, upon her return from an official trip to London, requested Attorney General Anand Ramlogan investigate the circumstances surrounding the sale and whether there were any breaches in the process.

Economist Jwala Rambarran, now Central Bank Governor, had chaired the Cabinet-appointed committee along with Dr. Bijan Vasigh and compiled a 137-page report which cast blame on the former People’s National Movement ministers who were involved in the process, namely former public administration minister Dr. Lenny Saith, former minister in the Finance Ministry Conrad Enill, former minister in the Finance Ministry Christine Sahadeo and former chairman of the BWIA board of directors Arthur Lok Jack.

The committee’s report, dated May 8, 2012, recommended Parliament convene a special session at which, at a minimum, the former ministers and directors should be called upon to account for the role which they played in the slots sale.

The committee recommended further that cabinet formally refer a copy of the forensic/management audit to the Attorney General for consideration “as to what actions, if any, may be pursued against any of the above-mentioned former public officials, having regard to all of the circumstances of the case”. (Express)

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