Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he has no funds at scandal-hit SSL Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness has denied allegations being made in the public sphere that he has borrowed any funds from the investment firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL), where a multi-billion dollar fraud has been uncovered.

Holness has also shared that while he opened an account with SSL in 2008, he “liquidated the last remaining financial instrument managed by SSL” on his behalf and gave instructions for his account to be closed in September 2021.

“I have no funds currently with SSL and I have not done any business with SSL since September 2021,” Holness said in a release on Tuesday afternoon.

“I wish to also make it clear that neither I, nor any member of my family, have ever borrowed from SSL, or received any form of credit facility from SSL,” he declared.

Holness following a Cabinet meeting said he has also asked all ministers to check and disclose the status of any accounts or investment relationships their Ministries or Agencies may have with Stocks and Securities Limited.

our financial sector requires a commitment to the highest level of transparency, probity and accountability

He noted that the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the National Health Fund (NHF) have already made their release in keeping with this directive.

Holness has also sought to clarify his dealings with SSL over the years to bring further clarity to any lingering concerns in the public domain relative to the investment firm.

“As I previously disclosed to the public in February 2016, I held an investment brokerage account with Stocks and Securities Limited.

“This account was opened in 2008 and has formed part of my statutory declarations since. In September 2021, I liquidated the last remaining financial instrument managed by SSL on my behalf and gave instructions for my account to be closed,” Holness disclosed.

“These current allegations of fraud at SSL and the international attention it has drawn to our financial sector requires a commitment to the highest level of transparency, probity and accountability,” Holness said.

“The public must be assured that the political class has no ‘conflict of interest’ that would prevent, delay or dilute efforts to ensure that the truth of the allegations is uncovered, those responsible are held to account and the victims receive justice,” he stated.

In the meantime, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) says “it has never and does not currently hold any accounts at Stocks and Security Limited.”

The confirmation came in a release from the party on Tuesday, as well.

According to the party, it expresses complete confidence that the Government will use all its powers to resolve the issues of alleged fraud at SSL.

In that same vein, JLP General Secretary, Dr Horace Chang, expressed confidence that Finance Minister and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, and the other relevant investigative agencies “will leave no stone unturned to find out who allegedly stole money from the clients” of SSL.

“We express regret at the loss suffered by those impacted and ask that the government continue to be aggressive in empowering the investigative authorities,” said Chang, who is also the National Security Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

The SSL fraud became public on January 12 after it was revealed that sprint legend Usain Bolt was among the individuals who had been hit by embezzlement at SSL.

Clarke revealed last week that many elderly citizens were also defrauded of funds at the entity.

The amount of money allegedly defrauded is not known to date as the Financial Investigations Division (FID) and other law enforcement agencies probe the developments at SSL.

Earlier on Tuesday, the temporary SSL manager, Kenneth Tomlinson, confirmed that sprint legend Usain Bolt has an account at SSL in the name of a limited liability company.

Additionally, the temporary SSL manager has told Clarke that Bolt’s account dates back to 2012.