Write-off List includes S.S.B. Chairman
The insider trading at the Social Security Board was stopped in its tracks when it became public that, from top to bottom, S.S.B. staff applied to benefit from the write-offs after reducing their loans with S.S.B. to fifty thousand dollars. An emergency meeting of the Board of Directors on Wednesday suspended C.E.O. Merlene Bailey Martinez and internal auditor Denise Mahler for two weeks. There are members of the Board who would prefer the termination of Bailey and at least one organization has called for a Commission of Inquiry. The Board of Directors also decided that an external independent audit is required. Interestingly Baileyís loan, number four hundred and fifty three, for eighty thousand dollars, appears on the approved list circulated to the House on Friday. The loan was disbursed in August 2011. She is the most recent member of staff to get the loan at concessionary rates. The Prime Minister has said that S.S.B. staff would not be able to participate in write-offs and went further to state that the C.E.O. of S.S.B. had assured him that she would not be seeking consideration since the list was approved at the end of September. Still yet, her name as well as other S.S.B. staff members are on the famous list among the seven hundred and eighty persons who have been approved for the debt forgiveness, valued at over seventeen million dollars and which government says it will be paying six million dollars.
The government is also undertaking to write off seventeen other loans held with the Heritage Bank for an amount of four hundred and three thousand dollars, all in the run up to the elections. It is a most unusual practice for any government to assume loans held privately with commercial banks. It doesnít escape, however, that government is also guaranteeing a sixteen million dollar loan for Telemedia with the Heritage Bank.