Tuesday, July 21, 2015

ANOTHER $5 MILLION GONE MISSING!

Seychelles lost an estimated $5 million in the sale of the explantation Club hotel back in 2008 according to documents recently made public.

The political pamphlet of Lalyans Seselwa, ‘Sun Extra’ first published the transaction of the hotel sale receipt on 13th July.

 The former Principal Secretary for Finance, Ahmed Afif, later appeared in the Seselwa Annou Koze channel on Youtube to give further details about the deal in an interview with John Denis.

Ex Governor/PS Finance Francis Chang Leng

 He maintained that Seychelles has been cheated of $5.7 from the deal.

 “There’s been no justice in this case. Up till now those who were majority shareholders in the hotel are still seeking clarification about the deal before the Court and they are not yet satisfied,” he said.

 Mr. Afif went on to explain that a possible explanation for the missing sum would be because confusion in the exchange rate. “That argument doesn’t hold water because at that time the rate was fixed by the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) and the rate was fixed at R8,” he said.

 To date there has been no official reaction from the government about this latest accusation of misappropriation of funds.

 It follows the claim made by the same party last month that $50 million went missing from the CBS coffers 12 years ago. According to the Leader of LS Patrick Pillay, a sum of $50 million was transferred from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital, Abu Dhabi to a Seychelles’ Government’s account at CBS and later wired to an account in the London Bank of Baroda branch.

The $50 million is said to have disappeared in 2002. That makes a total of $55 million over a span of six years.

 In an email reply to LSH earlier this month, the new Minister of Finance, Jean-Paul Adam, said: “As the current Minister for Finance I do not have on hand information of the transaction which supposedly took place 12 years ago referred to in your email. We are liaising with the Central Bank to clarify this issue.”

Accusations of corruption and mismanagement of public funds are stacking up against the ruling Parti Lepep (PL) and up till now they have offered little and very unconvincing answers to the Seychellois public.

A recent PL political pamphlet, People Plus issue suggested that the $50 million was used by the former Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB) to buy essential commodities for the country.

Mr. Afif rejected the claim saying neither the CBS nor the parastatal in question has declared the money on their receipt book.

 “One way to find the truth is to verify the Federal Reserve records in New York.” Those best placed to answer questions about the two deals are former President Albert Rene, his then Minister of Finance James Michel and the CBS Governor, who had the dual responsibility of Principal Secretary of Finance Francis Chang Leng.

PLANTATION CLUB HOTEL BACKGROUND

In August 2008 the Seychelles Supreme Court ruled in favour of winding up Ailee Development Corporation Limited, the owning company of Seychelles largest tourist resort at the time, the Plantation Club Hotel & Casino. The Seychelles Government as a company minority shareholder, with its 8 percent shares convinced the Court to order the liquidation of the company arguing that it was not making any profit; it was not paying its taxes and that the establishment has poor hygiene.

Case No 27 of 2008 before Justice Perera has since created legal history by paving the way for minority shareholders to call for liquidation of companies.


 Critics still maintain that without the stat interference in the judiciary the plantation saga would have not happened. Representatives of the 92 percent shares holding are still seeking recourse before the Court over the matter.

Source:LSH