Baptist Minister, Pastor Stanford Simon has denied signing papers with the collapsed Capbank International to secure a one million dollar overdraft facility with the controversial financial institution.
The issue of the overdraft facility came up in the ongoing fraud trial in the high court against businessman, Finton DeBourg, the man behind the setting up of Capbank.
The government-appointed Receiver for the bank, accountant, David Holokuff alluded to the overdraft facility involving Simon when he took up his assignment.
Holokuff, considered as the key witness for the State informed the court that he saw on the books of the bank an overdraft loan facility totaling EC$1M in the name of One Call Construction Co. that is owned by Pastor Simon.
When contacted by THE NEW TODAY on the issue, Simon said he had never signed any papers with DeBourg with respect to the loan facility.
He said the company was hired by DeBourg to build South City Plaza and was one day informed by the businessman that he had set up the overdraft facility at Capbank for him.
According to Simon, he never utilized the facility but is actually owed EC$2.2 million by DeBourg for work done on the Plaza.
He spoke of DeBourg informing him that payments made to him for work done on the Plaza would be deducted from this EC$1M overdraft facility that he had never signed onto in the first place.
The religious figure said he decided not to take DeBourg to court for the outstanding monies since the bank went into Receivership it was useless paying legal fees to bring a case and in the end would not recover any monies because the bank was virtually bankrupt.
Pastor Simon used some very harsh words to describe DeBourg as a businessman and decided to leave him up to the court and the good Lord.
Madam Justice Paula Gilford who is presiding over the trial heard evidence on Monday from Holokuff who was the fourth witness to take the stand to give evidence against the businessman.
The accountant was appointed Receiver of CapBank in 2008 by a former New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell after depositors failed to get their deposits that were lodged in the bank.
DeBourg who was arrested in 2009 is facing two charges for fraudulently applying funds of Capital Bank for his own benefit, another charge of falsification of accounts and three charges of falsification of the minutes of the Board of Directors of CapBank.
The criminal charges against De Bourg involve Capbank monies amounting to approximately EC$17 million, dating as far back as 2002 with the commencement of construction of South City Plaza in Grand Anse, which is owned by the businessman.
Holukoff told the court Monday that when his appointment commenced, he secured all the CapBank’s data and assets, which revealed that an insufficient amount of only EC$45, 000 in cash was on hand between the bank’s three location combined.
He said these monies comprised $11, 000 in coins, $12 000 in EC bank notes while the balance was made up of other foreign currencies.
He told the court the bank’s records showed that a total of $1, 598, 275.60, was outstanding to depositors, however, after initial investigations the figure increased to approximately $3M.
Approximately two years ago, the Government of Grenada made available a total EC$300, 000 available to some of the small depositors in an effort to ease their grievances.
According to Holukoff, the Bank’s records also showed that funds were being held by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) but his investigations revealed that the ECCB was not holding any funds for CapBank.
He also informed the court that another EC$5Million was being held as security by Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) Financial Ltd, which collapsed as a result of the global financial recession in 2008.
He indicated that no action was taken to recover the monies due to the financial situation at the time.
Holukoff pointed to another issue where loans were not being secured.
Monday’s sitting of the court revealed the allegation that De Bourg took for himself approximately EC$16.5 M in the form of an untraceable unsecured loan, along with two mortgages to CLICO that were not settled or registered valuing EC$10M each.
Holukuff informed the court that he did take steps to have the mortgage loans settled.
Holukoff informed the court that when he took up his appointment, De Bourg held three positions at the Bank, Chief Executive Officer, Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Holukoff was cross-examined Tuesday by De Bourg, who remained unrepresented by counsel.
Holukuff was still on the stand up until press time on Wednesday.
Attorney-at-law, Raymond Anthony, who previously provided legal counsel for De Bourg did not show up on the first day of the trial.
However, he appeared on the second day (last week Wednesday) and formally requested of the Court that he withdraw himself from the case, which was granted by the Court.
Information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that approximately two weeks ago Anthony wrote a letter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Grenada indicating his decision to withdraw from the case.
There are a total of eight witnesses still to take the stand including former employees of the bank, who are among other key witnesses for the State in the matter against De Bourg.
The trial could run until month-end.