… crime continues to dampen struggling economic growth – Chairman
After-tax profit made by the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Limited (GBTI) and its subsidiaries between January and June 2017 stands at $603 million, down from the $961 million recorded for the same period in 2016.
The GBTI Mid-Year (Interim) Financial Report has detailed that the company earned just over $902 million net profit after tax from its operations conducted during the first half (Jan/June) of 2016; but has recorded $599 million net profit after tax for the comparative period in 2017.
Moreover, a slight change in the company and group’s asset holdings has seen its worth decrease by some $2 billion for the first half of 2017, but the company’s cash resources have moved from $19 billion in 2016 to $22 billion in 2017.
This financial performance was, no doubt, due in part to the fraud perpetrated on the bank earlier this year, and partially because of economic issues facing the local financial sector, it has been said.
Chairman of the GBTI Board, Robin Stoby, said in his report that the local economy experienced significant disruptions in the first quarter of the year due to cyclical fluctuations in the foreign currency market.
“The (GBTI) if happy to report that it has been able to resume significant correspondent banking relationships, which have relieved the pressure on the delivery of foreign exchange supplies,” he explained.
The chairman noted that crime continues to dampen both the struggling economic growth and the investment climate. He referred to local banks, including GBTI, being faced with rising levels of non-performing loans, and slower credit with growth in the private sector.
Disclosing that the GBTI has provided for the fraud perpetrated on it, Stoby declared, “We remain optimistic that the legal process will be completed before the end of the year.”
Stoby had, in May 2017, told GBTI shareholders that the bank would recover the $941 million lost in a fraudulent transaction allegedly conducted by gold dealer Saddiqi Rasul. He had said that while, in the short term, the bank would have to make provisions for the loss, affecting earnings for the year, the board’s intention was to make an insurance claim for the money, in addition to conducting civil proceedings in an attempt to recover as much of the funds as possible.
The former Chief Justice, Senior Counsel Ian Chang, has been contracted as a special prosecutor in the case, as the board was “not satisfied with progress on the matter.” Chang has been authorised to pursue the bank’s interest in an urgent manner, and prosecute the case to finality with the help of the Guyana Police Force and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Rasul, owner of SSS Minerals Trading, was on April 3rd charged with six counts of fraud, wherein it was alleged that between March 21 and March 22, at Bartica, with intent to defraud, he obtained from GBTI $96 million, $290 million, $89 million, $45 million, $298 million and $138 million by falsely pretending that he had cash in a Citizens Bank account to honour cheques that he had written. Rasul has denied the charges, and has been placed on a total of $3million bail.