JM | Jan 24, 2023

Don’t follow rumours! Holness urges information verification amid fraud scandals

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness speaking at the launch of German Ship Repair Shipyard project on January 24, 2023. (Photo: Tamoy Ashman/ Our Today)

The recent surge in speculation about the events that led to multi-million-dollar frauds at two of Jamaica’s financial institutions, has prompted Prime Minister Andrew Holness to urge the population to verify information they see on social media before they form their opinions.

While addressing investors at the launch of German Ship Repair’s Shipyard Project today (January 24), Holness spoke briefly on the Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) fraud scandal.

“Don’t fall prey to wrong information. There are always people out there whose interests are not yours. They want to influence investor decision… or they just want to create mischief. But you as the investor, you listen to this and you go and make a wrong decision,” stated the prime minister.

SSL is under investigation for multiple instances of fraud that came to the public’s attention last week.

SSL Jamaica’s Hope Road headquarters in St Andrew. (Photo: Facebook @SSLJamaica)

Among those allegedly defrauded over what is believed to be a 13-year period is Jamaican athletics icon Usain Bolt, who is said to have lost US$12.75 million which his attorneys claim was in his SSL account up to October last year.

Since the revelation, there has been much speculation about the facts of the events that led to the fraudulent activity and who should be held responsible.

Jamaica’s banking sector is strong

Holness noted that the acceptance of inaccurate information can have a ripple effect, possibly damaging the banking and financial sector, and urged greater caution.

“Financial markets depend on information and if the actors in the financial market are consuming false information, they will make wrong decisions. So, I urge our Jamaican people, particularly when it comes to financial markets, seek verified information before you use that to form your opinion,” he pleaded.

Holness then assured the investors present that “the Jamaica banking sector, despite whatever nonsense you see circulating, is still very strong”.

He added that “the sky has not fallen as some would have projected it would”, but that there is room for improvement.

The investigation into SSL is ongoing, with Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke announcing on Monday (January 23) that the Government had requested the assistance of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation in the probe.

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