Layne defends work of oversight committee

The Oversight Committee appointed to look into the operations of CLICO adhered to the directives contained in the Memorandum of Understanding.

Former head of the committee, retired permanent secretary William Layne, gave this assurance to investors and the wider Barbadian society during an interview today with Barbados TODAY.

Layne explained that after May 12, 2009, the Oversight Committee was mandated to ensure that all expenses at CLICO were legitimate.

These included wages and salaries for members of office staff and wages and commissions for insurance salesmen in the employ of the company.

Layne, who is a chartered accountant, stressed that the committee did not allow payments to third parties who provided services to the company.

He said: “As far as I am aware, there were no breaches of the directive contained in the Memorandum of Understanding.”

However, “I was not at the company every day, so who knows what may have occurred?

“We met on a weekly basis and we looked at the list of legitimate expenses which were wages and benefits payable to people. We were not willing to make payments to related parties for contracts because we were not making payments to third parties.”

The outspoken former civil servant told Barbados TODAY that four days before the Oversight Committee took up duty, a payment was made to a company owned by former chairman Leroy Parris’ wife. (NC)      

In its June 2013 Forensic Audit, which was recently unsealed in the High Court, the Judicial Manager of CLICO International Life had noted the payment of a cheque to Branlee Consulting, a company owned by Leroy Parris, in the amount of $876, 683 for override commission.

According to the Judicial Manager, the cheque was dated May 8, 2009, which was shortly before the formal appointment of the oversight committee by former Prime Minister David Thompson.

Ms Cheryl Haynes and Ms Jillian Wason, Mr Parris’ executive assistant, signed the cheque.

However the report pointed out that under a MOU between the Government and CLICO Holdings Barbados Limited (CHBL) governing the appointment of the Layne-led oversight committee, CHBL committed “to ensure that the regulated subsidiaries will not make payments to Directors, management or other senior officials in the form of bonus payments and ex-gratia payments during the period of this MOU.”

“We note that the cheque to Branlee was deposited on May 18, 2009 after the Oversight Committee was appointed,” the report said, adding that Layne had explained then that the “payment was made at a time when the Memorandum of Understanding was under negotiation”.

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