TCL moves to get rid of Republic Bank boss

Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited CEO Ian De Souza
Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited CEO Ian De Souza

The man now heading the former Barbados National Bank will be out of a job if the company which owns the Arawak Cement Company Limited has its way.

In the latest development in a public row that has seen Trinidad Cement Limited’s annual general meeting suspended indefinitely through a court injunction, TCL announced today that it had initiated action to have current Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited CEO Ian De Souza disqualified from managing a financial institution.

TCL has lodged a complaint with Trinidad and Tobago’s Central Bank “requesting that Mr. De Souza be disqualified from the status of being a fit and proper person to be concerned with the management of a financial institution, under the Financial Institutions Act, 2008”.

Additionally, the cement producer said it had also filed a complaint at Trinidad’s Securities and Exchange Commission “against Republic Bank, Mr. Ian De Souza and Mr. Wilfred Espinet pursuant to Section 92 (b) of the Securities Act, 2012”.

This was in addition to “a request that the SEC undertake an investigation pursuant to Section 150 of the Securities Act into whether or not Messrs. De Souza and Espinet have contravened the insider trading provisions contained in Sections 100 to 101 of the Securities Act”.

TCL has alleged that Espinet and De Souza, acting on behalf of Republic Bank, have been undermining management decisions and are on a campaign to get control of the company’s board via a proposal submitted by a group of shareholders who control 5.68 per cent of TCL.

TCL said the proposal it received on June 14 this year came from shareholdes including Wilnet Holdings Limited, Stephen Espinet, MASA Investments Limited, Brimont Limited, Kamal Ali, Alescon Readymix Limited, Bourne Investment Inc., Tatil Life Assurance Limited, Nicholas Development Limited, Helen Bhagwansingh and Issa Nicholas Holdings.

On July 12 the Trinidad High Court granted an injunction restraining TCL from holding its Annual Meeting scheduled for that same day and the company has been trying to get it overturn.

Today, TCL said it had lodged its two complaints and one request against De Souza “based on facts that have come to light in this matter including the statements and admissions made by Mr. Wilfred Espinet in his affidavit filed in Court, and having regard to the circumstances surrounding the involvement of Republic Bank, Mr. Ian De Souza and Mr. Wilfred Espinet” in what it alleged was “the orchestration of the shareholders’ proposal. (SC)

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