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JM | Jan 24, 2023

Opposition welcomes international assistance with SSL fraud probe

/ Our Today

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The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) has thrown its support behind yesterday’s (January 23) announcement that officials from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been called in to assist local authorities with a probe in the multi-billion-dollar fraud scandal at investment firm Stocks and Securities Ltd (SSL).

Following Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke’s press conference, at which it was announced that the FBI had been asked to assist with the investigation, his Opposition counterpart, Julian Robinson, told Our Today he believed the move was a step in the right direction.

“We called for international assistance for the investigation, we called for forensic expertise to be brought to the table and the fact that has been done is something we welcome, and which we believe will help in the process of restoring the confidence in the financial services industry,” said Robinson.

The Opposition is, however, still calling for Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis to conduct a special audit of the operations of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to determine what led to the regulator’s decision-making process which resulted in a failure bring an earlier stop to the fraud scheme which appears to have taken place over 13 years. 

The Barbados Avenue headquarters of the Financial Services Commission loctaed in New Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: Facebook @FSCJamaica)

“I would regard what has taken place as a total failure of the FSC because the FSC has acted decisively in many other scenarios. They have revoked licences of other companies and, really, what I think needs to be examined and determined is why it didn’t do so in this particular case and the Auditor General will be best to interrogate that particular issue,” he continued.

Robinson at the same time elected not to comment on Clarke’s outlining of a new role for the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) which take full regulatory control of the financial sector, including of the non-deposit taking securities industry which the FSC previously monitored.

“As an Opposition, we need to spend a little more time looking at the pros and cons, and then we’ll make a final comment on it,” he said.

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