THE NEW TODAY has been told about an elaborate scheme that was run within the Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) that resulted in some persons making thousands of dollars in profit through insider trading especially on the purchase of sugar by the state body.
A source who spoke on condition that he was not identified said that the scheme involved the setting up of separate companies in Miami and Grenada to trade in the commodity.
He said that the Miami company was responsible for sourcing sugar which was sold to a local company that involved a high-up official in MNIB and then resold to the state enterprise at a mark-up in order to make a profit for those involved in the scheme.
According to the source, it is quite possible that this was one of the things being referred to by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchel who a few weeks ago announced that government has agreed to set up a public commission of inquiry into the affairs of the financially-troubled state body.
Dr. Mitchell said then that the wrong doings that are now being exposed at MNIB are “extremely uncomfortable.”
“…We found out a lot of things that we didn’t know or we are finding out some things that we were not aware of and some of them are very frightening and extremely uncomfortable, extremely uncomfortable”, he told reporters at a press conference earlier in the month.
The source dropped hints that the Board of Directors then under the Chairmanship of Samuel Andrew had picked up on the “insider trading” scheme that was taking place within MNIB.
He said that Andrew had made every effort over a 5-month period to get an audience with Prime Minister Mitchell to inform him about the alleged wrongdoing taking place at MNIB but was unsuccessful.
“Partner, the thing not looking good at MNIB. If there is a public commission of inquiry a lot of things will come out and some people will not be looking good at the end of it all”, he added.
According to the source, the MNIB was forced to go deeper into debts and to extend on its bank overdraft in order to pay some of its creditors.
He mentioned the pile up of over $300, 000.00 in airline tickets for First Class travel by the then Chief Executive Officer of MNIB, Ruel Edwards and in most cases a particular female employee at the state body.
This newspaper understands that most of the tickets related to travel to Miami.
Another source close to the Mitchell-led government indicated that those involved in the “insider trading” scam were able to manipulate the price at which sugar was sold on the local market by MNIB.
Chairman Andrew and former MNIB CEO Edwards were unable to be reached for comment on the allegations.
Andrew is said to be too scared to talk out of fear of possible victimisation by government.
The former MNIB Chairman has been working in the St. Andrew area with the TA Marryshow Community (TAMCC) and did not want to run the risk of losing the job.
Edwards has been removed as CEO of MNIB and given another lucrative job at the Ministry of Finance under PM Mitchell.
The former CEO has come from a family that is known to be strongly aligned to Mitchell’s ruling new National Party (NNP).
The Mitchell-led government is yet to announce the composition of the promised public inquiry into MNIB and the terms of reference.