The National Investment Company of Anguilla Ltd started operating in 1989. It raised EC$5 million from members of the
In the year 2003, the father and son team of Bob Rogers and Carlyle Rogers commenced litigation in the High Court of Anguilla in suit No 29 of 2003. They complained about the state of affairs, and asked for an Investigator to be appointed. The Court appointed chartered accountant Avondale Thomas to make an investigation. He found gaps in the company’s records which made it difficult for him to discover all the damage that had been done. As he explains in his Report filed in the High Court in August 2003, he was not doing an audit of the company’s accounts. He was merely investigating the company’s records and documents with a view to making recommendations for improvement. He comments at page 5 and onwards on a number of his findings about the records.
Land documents. The company owns 36 acres of land at Gibbons Estate and 2 acres at Sandy Ground. Mr Thomas was unable to locate in the company’s files any Land Certificates, survey maps, receipts, or transfer documents relating to either of the properties. Eventually, the newly appointed company secretary, Marva Thompson managed to get copies for him at the Land Registry. Mr Thomas discovered that the lease of the Sandy Ground property to Anguilla Rums had expired some years ago. No new lease had been put in place.
Jem Homes Inc. NICA invested money in this company. The money was lost. Mr Thomas was unable to locate the records relating to this investment. He eventually found some documents, but when he raised a number of concerns about them, he was told the documents belonged to Kennedy Hodge’s family and not to NICA.
Board Minutes. Chairman George Kentish revealed that minutes of Board meetings were not always kept. When they were kept, they were not always brought to the next meeting for ratification. When they were kept, they were not always properly filed and kept in a secure location. This is contrary to the provisions of the Companies Act, which requires that minutes of all Board meetings be kept.
Accounting Records. These were kept in a grossly inadequate state. As a result it was not possible to evaluate the financial position of the company for eight years or to make decisions on the basis of properly constructed financial data.
Audit Statements. Under section 128 of the Companies Act, the Directors are obliged to place before the shareholders in annual general meeting the report of the auditors of the company’s financial statements. The Directors were in clear breach of this statutory provision. No financial statements had been presented since those of 1994.
The situation described above is appalling. It reveals a rudderless and leaderless company entrusted by thousands of Anguillians with, in some cases, their life savings. Instead of hiring competent managers and setting about a planned development of the company’s assets, the Board acted like a volunteer football club, nickel and diming their auditors and staff to death. In subsequent posts, we shall see how they minded the pennies while squandering the hundreds of thousands of dollars.