US$5m cheque in drawer
PORT?OF?SPAIN –?Gita Sakal, former corporate secretary of the collapsed CL Financial empire, said Thursday she kept a US$5 million cheque tucked inside her desk drawer for almost two months because she received a “significant pay” and did not need to run to the bank to deposit money every month.
Sakal made the statement while being cross-examined by Terrence Bharath, the legal representative for policyholders of failed insurance giant CLICO, a subsidiary of CL Financial.
She also admitted it was “regular practice” for executives of the conglomerate to approve payments to themselves.
Sakal took the witness stand for the second successive day at the Commission of Enquiry into the collapse of CL Financial and the Hindu Credit Union (HCU) at the Winsure Building, Richmond Street in Port of Spain.
In her witness statement Sakal said she received a US$35 000 monthly salary from CL Financial and a monthly retainer of $40 000 from CLICO for legal advice.
As the corporate secretary of CL Financial, Sakal said she received a US$5 000 fee for every board meeting she attended.
Sakal was paid more than $27 million from CL Financial the year before the cash-strapped conglomerate approached the State for financial assistance, Bharath said.
CL Financial received a financial rescue from the then PNM government after depositors requested hundreds of millions of dollars back from CLICO.
In 2008 Sakal was paid $12.2 million through her consultancy firm Discreet Logic Ltd and a further $14.9 million through her second consultancy firm Corporate Consultants, Bharath said. (Trinidad Express)