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Case being built against Rambarran
Dismissed Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran allegedly breached several financial laws in the past four months and could now face the possibility of criminal charges—which carry a $10,000 fine or one year in jail if he is convicted, according to a reliable Government source.
The T&T Guardian was informed that a case is being built against Rambarran accusing him of breaching sections of three specific pieces of legislation: the Central Bank Act, the Financial Institution Act and the Exchange Control Act. All of these breaches were reportedly played out in the public domain by Rambarran himself, the top Government source said.
On Wednesday, acting President Christine Kangaloo, acting on the advice of Cabinet, terminated Rambarran’s appointment and appointed long-standing Central Banker Alvin Hilaire to the post.
Cabinet acted on the advice of Finance Minister Colm Imbert who had previously been critical of Rambarran over his decision to name this country’s top foreign exchange users and announce that the country was in recession without data from the Central Statistical Office.
Government sources said the case against Rambarran alleges breaches of the Exchange Control Act and its strict provisions on disclosure of information that carries stiff consequences. Rambarran’s missteps began when on December 4, he announced to the public that the country was in a recession.
Government insiders told the T&T Guardian that the announcement came before information relating to the third financial quarter was completed and before informing the Minister of Finance.
This means that Rambarran may have breached the Central Bank Act, specifically sections 49 and 50 on issues of policy and policy directives. According to the Act, the Central Bank Governor “shall keep the Minister informed of the monetary and banking policy pursued or intended to be pursued by the Bank”.
Section 50 of that Act also stipulates that the Minister of Finance, after consultation with the Governor, can issue to the Bank “written directives of a general nature as may be necessary to give effect to the monetary and fiscal policies of the Government”.
Another major misstep allegedly occurred when Rambarran revealed the names of the largest foreign exchange users in the country recently. Rambarran faced widespread condemnation from financial and business sectors of society as many believed that he had not only set a dangerous precedent but had actually committed a criminal offence.
One of those affronted conglomerates, the Massy group consulted with its legal team and found evidence that in revealing the names of the companies accessing the most forex, Rambarran had allegedly breached Section 8 (1) and (7) of the Financial Institution Act of 2008, which makes provisions to prohibit disclosure.
According to Section 8 (1), states: “No director, officer or employee of the Central Bank or person acting under the direction of the Central Bank shall disclose any information regarding the business or affairs of a licensee or any of its affiliates or information regarding a depositor, customer or other person dealing with a licensee, that is obtained in the course of affiliate duties.
Section 8 (7) states that nothing in Section 8 of the Financial Institution Act authorises the Central Bank or “any person acting under the directive of the Central Bank to disclose information about a particular depositor or creditor of a licensee except where required by written law or ordered by the Court”.
Rambarran’s disclosure on the users of forex has further ramifications under the Exchange Control Act. Section 44 (2) of that Act is specific about the consequences of disclosure. “Anyone who contravenes the provisions of this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000 to imprisonment for one year,” the Act states.
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