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JM | Jan 20, 2023

Nigel Clarke | No stone will be left unturned in Stocks and Securities matter

/ Our Today

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Dr Nigel Clarke, minister of finance and the public service.


The following is a statement from Dr Nigel Clarke, minister of finance and the public service, issued yesterday (January 19) in relation to the ongoing fraud case at investment outfit Stocks and Securities Ltd.

Based on preliminary updates a number of elderly investors are among those allegedly defrauded in the Stocks and Securities (SSL) matter. On behalf of the Government of Jamaica, we empathise with ALL investors who have been impacted in this way and particularly those of advanced age, who, at some time in the past, brought their working years to a close.

I wish to assure all Jamaicans that the investigative authorities such as the Financial Investigations Division (FID) and the Fraud Squad have operational independence to pursue this investigation, wherever it may lead. There will be full transparency. No stone will be left unturned in unearthing exactly how funds were allegedly stolen, who benefited from such theft and who organised and collaborated in this. The probe will also seek to identify whether assets have been acquired with the proceeds of this fraud. If and when such assets are identified all legal steps will be taken to restrain these assets with the intention of full
forfeiture.

The Barbados Avenue headquarters of the Financial Services Commission. (Photo: Facebook @FSCJamaica)

I wish to also assure the public of full transparency around the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and its role and decisions in this matter. No stone will be left unturned. I ask for public understanding of the fact that sometimes the legitimate public interest of being kept abreast sometimes conflicts with other critically important and legitimate public interests of ensuring a thorough criminal investigation, securing successful prosecutions and forfeiting assets derived from stolen funds, where possible. Where those conflicts arise we will be transparent about these too and prioritise ensuring successful investigations and
prosecutions by the relevant authorities.

NEED FOR PATIENCE DUE TO COMPLEXITIES AROUND CASE

Though speed is necessary, and is being applied, there is need for patience due to the complexities that arise from the very long period over which this alleged fraud was perpetrated.

The directors and managers of SSL must account for their stewardship. There are many questions to be answered such as the time period between becoming aware of this fraud and informing the regulatory and investigative authorities and the actions taken in the interim among many other matters.

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

While the feelings and expressions of shock and revulsion by all are fully justified, a lot of speculative comments and assertions on social media are inaccurate and some extreme claims seem fueled by perverse motives.

On Monday, January 23, I will deliver a policy address on the broader issues that arise.

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