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November 20, 2009

Eustace asks who dropped off $1 million at NCB

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace wants Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves to respond to an allegation that US$1 million was brought into the country and an effort was made to deposit the money at the state owned National Commercial Bank (NCB).{{more}}

Eustace has, therefore, made an early submission to the Speaker of the House for the prime minister to respond to the allegation at the next sitting of Parliament.

Eustace said he is seeking information on who dropped the money and for what purpose, where is the sum of money now and whether the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) carried out an investigation into the matter.

Eustace, speaking on Wednesday at a press conference at the New Democratic Party headquarters, said the transaction was ultimately denied and the person involved told to return to collect it.

However, Prime Minister Gonsalves, at a press conference later on the same day, said: “The allegation is not true.”

“On that issue, Eustace is wrong,” he said.

“I am surprised he didn’t talk about the man who walked out with $1 million,” Gonsalves quipped.

The Prime Minister scoffed at the Opposition Leader’s request to discuss the issue in Parliament, saying that the issue of money lodged in a bank was one of confidentiality between the customer and the relative institution.

“That’s a banking issue, an issue for the FIU,” he added.

Gonsalves did, however, refer to the FIU Act number 38 of 2001, which was set up to receive suspicious reports on proceeds from crime and money laundering.

When contacted by SEARCHLIGHT, Andre Iton, CEO of NCB, refused to comment, noting that it was against Bank policy to discuss such confidential matters. (DD)