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Bank Refutes Secret Account Claim

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has refuted claims that the National Conservation Authority (NCA) has a secret account at any of its branches here in Saint Lucia. In a letter to Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, area manager for the RBC in the Eastern Caribbean and Saint Lucia, Mr. Greg Gilpin Payne, said the bank is not aware of any particulars of the so called “secret account”.

In a letter to Dr. Anthony, and in response to statements made in the media by former NCA chairman Mr. Antonius “Secra” Gibson that the NCA had a secret account, the RBC manager said “the bank is not aware of any account save to say that all accounts with the bank are secret so to speak as all customers accounts are covered under the Bank’s confidentiality guidelines”.

Mr. Gilpin-Payne added “Since we are not in a possession of the particulars of this “secret account” we are not in a position to comment on whether the teller used the bank to manage a “secret account”

In further clarification of the matter the manager of the RBC wrote “Cheques referred to at page 25 of the Report on the Investigation of the NCA – the Bank confirms that the said cheques were cashed at the Bank but only after the bank’s proper procedures were adhered to and followed. Further these cheques were never deposited into any account in the bank”.

The cheques in question were cashed by persons who were employed by the NCA as confirmed by the report of the investigation.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony wrote to Mr. Gibson inviting him to provide evidence to support his charges that the NCA was holding a secret account. The letter was copied to the general manager of the RBC.

The accusation by Mr. Gibson was among numerous charges leveled at the NCA during an investigation into the government agency where Mr. Gibson served as chairman. The investigation was sparked by allegations of impropriety at the NCA. Minister of Social Transformation, Local Government and Culture Honourable Menissa Rambally initiated the investigation following a formal request from former NCA chairman Henry Charles for the probe to clear his name and reputation.

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