Fraud Cover-up alleged at Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union

To Members of the Press:

The Annual General Meeting of Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union will be held on June 18th 2011 and will be a watershed as a large number of fed up and concerned members will be there to let their voices be heard.

The major issues are:

  • Two cases of fraud which are being covered up by the Management, Board and Supervisory Committee. These fraud cases were not reported to the external auditors or to the regulator as required by section 215 of the Cooperatives Societies Act. Indeed the CEO and Management did not follow the procedures set out in their own anti-fraud policy — which should have seen the Internal Auditor immediately alerted and the necessary investigations conducted. Two staff members have lost their jobs so far and dozens of members whose cards were created by one particular individual are at risk. While these two staff members are no longer with the organisation, there is evidence that they did not act alone. The members are therefore concerned about any involvement by others including supervisory and management staff.
  • Excessive travel by Paul Maxwell, a member of the Board who is also Treasurer of BPWCCUL, a Director of CAPITA, a Director of BPW Financial Holdings and was recently named as CEO of CAPITA. These also represent major conflicts of interest. He is already booked to attend conferences AFTER he vacates his seat on the Board on June 18th in contravention of a Board Policy which was used to get rid of then member Mr. Caswell Franklyn. Mr. Maxwell was instrumental in bringing down Mr. Franklyn now is completely ignoring the rule he created to oust Mr. Franklyn at the time.
  • The recent naming of Mr. Maxwell as the successor to Ms. Clorinda Alleyne – current CEO. In a recent memo to the Board, she named Mr. Maxwell and another member of staff Natalie holder as her choices to succeed her. Ms. Holder as General Counsel if she is interested would be fine but the naming of Mr. Maxwell is offensive to the members. The Credit Union management positions are not part of Mr. Maxwell’s fiefdom to be handed down from one friend to another. AT this stage we would recall the fact that Mr. Maxwell contrary to the organisation’s policy used the CEO’s and other BPWCCUL vehicles while he served as President with no regard for the organisation’s rules.
  • Excessive travel by a member of Staff – Tracia Pounder (search for photos of her travels on facebook. She (as a supervisor) has travelled more than any member of staff including the Chief Executive Officer during the last year.  Only one other person has travelled more and that is Mr. Maxwell.
  • The ineffectiveness of the Supervisory Committee. this committee is chaired by Cedric Murrell, the chairman of CTUSAB, VP of the NUPW, Chief Air Traffic Controller, Director of NISE, deputy Chairman of the St. Philip South Constituency Council, Regional Executive Director with the International Association of Air Traffic Controllers. He also plans to run for the Board – How can this represent good governance? How can he assure members that he will have the time needed to be an effective Director? There is a conflict between his role as a leading trade unionist and the potential role as employer/Director of Barbados’ largest Credit Union.
  • The fact that Mr. Maxwell encouraged a Kieva Cadogan to run and mis-led members into supporting her as a Director when he knew that she was a BANK INSPECTOR at the Central Bank. Under the Financial Institution’s Act, CAP 324A at Section 52, as the owner of CAPITA, BPWCCUL is subject to regulatory authority from the Central Bank. How can she therefore sit as a Director of BPWCCUL and effectively perform her role as a Bank Examiner? In past years the Central bank has actually carried out examinations of BPWCCUL in association with the substantive regulator. Ms. Cadogan should do the decent thing and resign as a Director. The Central Bank Governor should also be asked to explain this clear conflict.
  • The fact that one Director Ms. Marilyn Mapp works outside of Barbados in Grenada (as Finance Officer of the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network) and therefore cannot attend Board meetings with any regularity. Our information is that she has not declared this information to the Board and while she travels back for a few meetings (4 during the last year) she also travels on behalf of the credit union regularly notwithstanding her very poor attendance.
  • Why does the credit union have to pay for nearly the entire Board to attend a short 1 or 2 hour ceremony to formally launch a 7 or 8 million dollar business in St. Lucia (CAPITA Launch on Friday). Could the Credit Union not be adequately represented by one or two Board members and a couple Managers??
  • Well-documented relationships between prominent Board Members and members of Staff who are rewarded with oversees trips to conferences as a result of their compliance with Directors’ requests
  • The fact that the Credit Union President  Mr. Terrol Inniss went on a birthday bash to Hawaii unknown to most Board Members. It was the Credit Union Executive Society’s Symposium 2011: A CEO/Chairman Exchange.  It was held at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa from February 6th to 12th.
  • The Concerned members also wish to know whether a Group Strategic Plan has been devised to streamline the operations of the Group?? If not why not?
  • We also wish to know when was the last appraisal of the Chief Executive Officer carried out by the Board? Given the concerns previously expressed by the regulator was an appraisal done this year? If one was not done is it the Board’s intention to continue to pay the CEO their share of the profit-sharing plan in the absence of any documentation of their performance?
  • What is the status of the Credit Unions Investment in Cooperators General Insurance?? Was this investment approved by the Registrar in keeping with the requirements of the Act in terms of such investments? If not what sanction can be imposed on the members of the Board?? Was this a prudent investment given the credit union’s existing investments in Insurance Corporation of Barbados?

Sincerely,

BPWCCUL Concerned Members Coalition

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10 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law

10 responses to “Fraud Cover-up alleged at Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union

  1. bajanguy

    This story was over at Barbados Underground for two days.. I thought your delay in posting it was that this so called group of person actually brought facts and that this was not a “re-hash” of the same rumour, innuendo and propaganda that they published over at BU.

    Coincidental they only feel this way now that the AGM is two weeks away.

    Isn’t it curious that this article (which must be noted is unsubstantiated – and making it seem that apparently just writing anything you feel like on blogs seems to make it true and pity the poor fool who gets written about). I’m sorry for those persons mentioned in this post as their names are now being “bandied” around and who knows if the writer (s) just wanted to maliciously do their credibility harm in the two weeks that lead up to this organisation’s AGM – How interesting! What is the real motive of this “group”? Is it that they are upset that they are not the ones in these positions?

    The question is what exactly was the fraud if any occurred and to what extent? Were persons made accountable?

    Question 2: The traveling officers in question – where they out taking leisure cruises or can the group get us details on exactly what the traveling was for so we can determine if the traveling was to the benefit of the organisation? Where they flying to Credit Union Council meetings and training? Wher ethey flying to meet with consultants who they are seeking to work with to move the Credit Union forward?

    Some of the banks I am aware of take not only one Manager but their whole executive team to retreats for the week in Miami – How much work are they doing. And that’s off the backs of poor people monies as well. No different to the Credit Union and then they charge us huge service fees to help pay the bills. No to mention they then have huge expense accounts, entertaining at the various “polo clubs” and sandy lane lunches and dinners.

    This list of “concerns” raised here seems personal and like a child who did’lt get what they wanted or win the game so they will take up the ball and go home.

    But this seem to be the typical “crab in the bucket” mentality as my grandmother used to say. Cause we have innuendos to stir up emotions but not with a shred of any real wrong doing or even evidence brought out.

    The Credit Union could not have gotten to where it is today as a serious rival for the banks on lax policies and procedures and with people willy nilly traveling for frivolous reasons. They have an AGM (which means every year) don’t these issues get dealt with then if they are real issues?

    Do we get like this about traveling of Government ministers and our same “poor black people” tax dollars from a government that tells us they can do nothing about the cost of living that is killing us ?

    Where was this writer when the nation cut jobs when the parent company OCM continues to ensure that it maintains it fat profits. Did anyone write about the goings on at Starcom where the CEO I have heard has quite a nice array of vehicles yet jobs are being cut there?

    From my understanding this Credit Union would have had to seek the approval of the membership or at a minimum make them aware of their purchase of the Clico Mortgage company which by all reports in the press for what that’s worth was a well run company and one of the few in the group worth anything and respected by its regulator for maintaining standards…

    Let’s get with it and stop pulling down our own for our own selfish motives when they are other real issues out there that are “killing”
    us by the those who are rich and famous off of our same poor people and do it with little to no conscience.

    The credit Union has an array of fora for these issues to be aired how come the writer has to use this medium?

    Come on what is their real motive? Do they wish to be elected to the Board themselves?

  2. Kammie Holder

    When is the AGM?

  3. Hector Belle

    These allegations appear to be the acts of a sick person who has seen no good in the officials of the credit union. He or she should be involved in destructive politics.
    I wish him/her well and would advise that medical consultation should be sought before futher mantal degenaration occurs.

  4. Bajan gal

    I can tell you the person is not sick. They are spot on and on the ball. Good research! Has been going on for tooo long! Members must protect their money, show up on the 18th and act in a unified effort to outs this corruption. I should know…..I worked there and grew sick of their continued disrespect to follow protocols, processes and even their own policies. Extremely poor Management. The Credit Union is going to fall, believe me and lots of innocent people will lose their money.

  5. Lady Anon

    Members of the credit union NEED to go to all publicized meetings and exercise their right as credit union members. Too often, members do NOT read the documentation provided by the institution, participate in the management, that is, the selection and election of those members who govern the institution.

    I wonder how many will turn out on June 18th or whether it will be the same old same old.

    For the numbers of members, the AGM should be held at the LESC and not the meeting/training room on the credit union compound.

  6. Bajan gal

    They chose ‘home ‘ so more money will be available for ‘them’ travel all over the place and to control the amount of people who can actually be in the Training room at any given time, thus those outside will have to strain their ears to understand the muffled sometimes unrecognizable words spoken. It is a strategy.

    The article at top is not complete, throughout the years the ‘excessive traveller’ named has made soooooooooo many trips at OUR expense. It is our money that BUILT the credit union, and made it what it is today. We need to take control and have a major input into how our money is spent. What sense is it being a member and can not have any say.

    ALL MEMBERS out there, come out in your numbers and help ‘purge’ the credit union of its cancers, sores and diseased parts. Take a stance and Protect your money. It is your right!

  7. Bajan gal

    Co-operative Leaders to avoid

    Co-operatives will often attract “would be leaders” who are potentially dangerous to the co-operative, threatening its very future. Co-operative members have the responsibility for selection of their own leaders. In small co-operatives, the members are in a much better position to spot “bad” leaders and drop them quickly, but in a large co-operative it is much easier for the wrong type of leader to emerge and stay in office when they ought really to be replaced. A members’ council able to examine more closely and critically the performance of co-operative leaders, can be valuable in ensuring that the best people are appointed as leaders. Most of us know what we expect from leaders, but when we see things going wrong we also need to be able to identify the negative traits which make individuals unsuitable for leadership.

    In particular, co-operative members need to be on their guard against selecting leaders who are extremely self-interested, because in a co-operative leaders need to demonstrate their commitment to the interests of the cardinal stakeholders group and their belief that joint action can bring real benefits to the membership.

    Members should avoid supporting for election or appointing leaders with following characteristics; if already elected, they ought to be replaced at the earliest opportunity.

    The Nest Featherers – These use the co-operative for their own advantage, taking the opportunity presented by their leadership role to press for their own personal benefits above that of the membership in general.
    The Main Chancers – These look to get their hands on the accumulated assets of the co-operative,usually achieved by converting the co-operative into an investor company.
    The Ego Builders – These may be a president/chairperson or a CEO, who place all the emphasis on demonstrating how important they are. Such a leader usually likes to demonstrate their importance by having all of the trappings of power and wealth, which become more important than making the co-operative successful. This type of leader is usually keen to have elaborate offices and enjoys mounting spectacular events using the co-operative’s resources.
    The Recognition Seekers – Such individuals have their main sights on securing some public appointment. To such people the activities of the co-operative are only stepping stones for their own ambitions.
    The High-jackers – These are not really working in the interests of the members and the cardinal stakeholder group. Their real intent is to take the co-operative away from its original members.
    The Political Ladder Climbers – These would use their term in office as nothing more than a stepping stone towards political office. The co-operative will be “milked” to provide all kinds of opportunities to advance their political aspirations.
    The Dogma Pedlars – These simply see the co-operative as a means of persuing their own political or religious dogma; they do not want the co-operative to provide benefit to their members, but instead only want to use the co-operative to support their chosen cause.
    The Asset Accumulators – These feel that the success of the co-operative is best measured by the assets they accumulate, usually in the way of buildings and plant. instead seeking the best deal for their members they would rather have more facilities under their control. They usually like to increase the size of the workforce since this gives them the appearance of having more power. They basically believe in leading a rich co-operative which has relatively poor members.

    It may not be easy to get rid of a ‘bad leader’ in a co-operative, as such leaders are often skilled at manipulating the members so as to retain their support. However, those with a genuine interest in their co-operative will have to get replaced. This will often mean that someone has to be prepared to step forward and take on the leadership role; they cannot wait for ever for someone else to taken on the job. this is the real downside of being a responsible co-operative member: sometimes you will have to take on a role you have not sought.

    IN SUMMARY

    Co-operatives, more than any other form of enterprise, are reliant upon the existence of high quality leadership for their survival and successful development.
    Leaders need to be in close touch with the aspirations of members and to transform these into actions which benefit the members.
    The primary leadership functions will normally be provided from members who belong to the cardinal stakeholder group, although leadership is also required at various levels throughout the co-operative.
    There is the danger that leadership vacuums will be filled by the persons from other stakeholder groups, who will see to “hijack” the co-operative.
    The functions of representation and directing a co-operative are best separated in a larger co-operative.
    The board of directors should be a task oriented group which is quite different from the functions of a representative body, such as a members’ council.
    Co-operatives need to have a system of communication which facilitated a dialogue between members and management, which is not solely reliant upon formal members’ meetings and which enables leaders to keep in close touch with members throughout the co-operative.
    Leaders need to inspire the membership and get them to adopt a vision for the future.
    They also need to actively promote co-operative behaviour within the co-operative.
    Leadership is based upon knowledge and competence. prospective leaders need to equip themselves properly in preparation for their future tasks.
    The skills of leadership can be learned, and steps need to taken to develop leaders at all levels.
    The aim should be to develop a pool of potential leaders from which the co-operative may draw.
    Training needs to be provided to existing and potential directors so as to build their knowledge and competence.

  8. Bajan gal

    For those of you who are in denial and don’t want to accept the truth as outlined by the first writer on this page, about the poor and corrupt management of the BPWCCUL can go to http://www.woccu.org/bestpractices/operations and http://www.woccu.org/bestpractices/governance and get a greater insight and knowledge of what the jokers at the BPWCCUL should be have been doing where the operations and governance of that financial institution are concerned. Instead of sending practically the whole board, their spouses and a few ‘yard fowls’ (favoured employees) to the annual WOCCU and CCCU conferences every year.

  9. Progressive

    If what i have been reading are the facts I am quite saddened that individuals would engage in such activities using the hard earned funds of the members.As a member of the organisation it concerns me more especially when ordinary members must comply with all the rules and regulations in place and have no access to all of these benefits and perks enjoyed by this select(and elected0 few I am sure they were not placed in office to conduct themselves in this fashion but to promote the interests of the members who have invested some very hard earned cash.

  10. Jubilate

    What happened to this story? The followup dropped from the face of the earth. What was the final result of the investigation?