THE United National Congress (UNC) is urging the police and the Integrity Commission to investigate conflict of interest allegations against Minister of National Security Stuart Young relative to his brother’s position in a finance firm which has hefty loan contracts with Government.
Young, in an immediate response, denied any wrongdoing and vowed to seek legal advice on taking possible action against the UNC.
Former senator Wade Mark and UNC candidate for Port of Spain North/St Ann’s West Darren Garner held a briefing Tuesday at Garner’s campaign office on Edward Street in Port of Spain.
Reading a letter he sent to the Integrity Commission (dated August 4), Garner noted 57 recusals from Cabinet by Young in the past five years.
Garner’s letter alleged NCB Global Finance (NCBGF), whose CEO is Young’s brother Angus, had $2.5 billion in loan contracts with the Government and had seen its asset base grow from $132 million to $600 million from 2015-2019. Saying this was unprecedented growth during a recession, Garner’s letter asked, “Why would the State go to a financial firm such as NCB Global Financial Ltd to arrange for and raise financing far beyond what they lend, when they could easily go to a commercial bank?”
The letter said local banks have an asset base of $40-$80 billion and during the period under question had excess liquidity of $3-$4 billion, now standing at $10 billion. Mark urged the police to do a criminal forensic investigation into the matter.
Young, in a text message to Newsday, replied, “The UNC’s desperation and ignorance is astounding.” He accused Mark of not knowing about finance and how financial institution operate, but said that was not surprising.
Young challenged the UNC’s complaint to the Integrity Commission. “Under the Integrity in Public Life section 32(2), it is a criminal offence to engage in what Wade Mark and the UNC candidate for PoS North/St Anns West did with respect to the Integrity Commission. I will seek legal advice as to whether I can pursue action against these UNC minions who consistently engage in defamation.” Young said he has always acted above board.
“I rescued myself at both Cabinet and F&GP. I again repeat that my father never acted as a broker for any government financing transaction and my brother is an employee of NCBGF which is part of the second largest indigenous financial group in the Caribbean.”
Young told Newsday, “I dealt with Wade Mark’s misleading of the population in the Senate when he brought a whole motion comparing mangoes with sapodillas. Wade Mark is not someone that is taken seriously. The UNC minions are very desperate and I look forward to seeing them in court and collecting the damages from them.”