Labour Minister, Shahine Robinson, has instructed the Board of the National Insurance Fund (NIF) to direct the management of the agency to provide full cooperation to authorities investigating suspect share purchase transactions at the agency.
Nationwide News disclosed on Thursday that the Labour Ministry and the NIF Board have sought the assistance of the Police and the Financial Investigations Division, FID.
The FID is investigating a decision by the NIF management to purchase LASCO shares valued at JMD$519-million. The share purchase was signed off on by the NIF management without the permission of the Board or the Finance Ministry. Whether insider trading took place is being investigated.
A statement on Friday from the Labour Ministry said it had referred the issue to the FID. The statement says Minister Robinson directed the NIF Board to ensure the interest of contributors to the fund is secured.
The Ministry and the Board say they wish to assure the public they’re committed to ensuring that the highest levels of accountability are abided by at the NIF.
According to the Ministry, appropriate action will be taken at the end of the investigation. The Ministry notes the NIF has been dealing in shares listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange since 1995.
The Ministry says this segment of the portfolio has yielded the most returns over the past five years, largely due to the increase in values of stocks held by the NIF.
Nationwide News understands the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, MOCA, has taken an interest in the controversial NIF share purchase.
Sources at MOCA say the agency is closely monitoring the FID probe. It’s understood that MOCA could open a formal investigation when the FID probe is further advanced.
Thursday, NIF Board Chairman Lennox Elvy confirmed that the issue has been referred to what he described as the appropriate authorities.
FID Head, Robin Sykes told our news center this afternoon that the law prohibits the Division from commenting on investigations.
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