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Ato and Anil still owing on car loans
« on: November 07, 2015, 03:18:13 PM »
Ato and Anil still owing on car loans
By Kalifa Clyne (Guardian).

Former sport minister Anil Roberts and Olympic medalist Ato Boldon are among several politicians to be contacted by the Treasury to settle outstanding balances for vehicle loans.

The MPs are currently in violation of the loan arrangements, having failed to honour their installments since leaving office.

Boldon, who served as a United National Congress Senator in 2006, borrowed $298,711.

Since then, he has been in arears of over $245,000.

Roberts left office in 2014 amid allegations of corruption due to the LifeSport controversy which is still under police investigation.

In a document obtained by the T&T Guardian, the preliminary figure calculated for the loans which were granted to MPs, Senators, assistants and personal advisers totals just over $5 million for the past five years.

A source at the Ministry of Finance said loans as old as 15 years have been left unpaid by borrowers from different political parties.

Under the terms of the agreement, if there is a default in payment of loans, or if the borrower leaves the service of the Government, the unpaid balances, with interest, is required to be paid in full.

According to the terms of employment for office holders, government ministers are entitled to, in addition to their salaries, a loan for vehicle purchase of up to $350,000 at an interest rate of six per cent a year.

In addition to this, these office holders are also entitled to additional loans for insurance or vehicle repair of up to $20,000.

Roberts, who borrowed $337,000 for a vehicle purchase in 2010, left office with a balance of $131,000 unpaid.

Roberts has shield away from media since then as calls to his mobile phone went unanswered yesterday.

Boldon, who is based in Florida, yesterday said he assumed the debt was paid in full but could not be certain as he had not handled his finances personally in T&T at the time.

I no longer have a residence in T&T so I was not aware of it. Now that I am, I will contact the ministry and get it paid, he said in a brief online interview.

Boldon said he had not forgotten about the payment as he still owned the vehicle which he had purchased but had assumed it had been taken care of.

While the salary terms for ministers include allowances for such loans from the Treasury Division, personal assistants and advisers have also been given some access to the facility.

Princes Town MP Barry Padarath accessed a loan of $125,000 from the Treasury in 2013.

At the time, he was listed as an adviser to then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

A request for information on the terms and conditions for assistants and advisers was sent to the Communications Department at the Office of the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO).

Among the list of public officials with outstanding balances are Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, former Prime Minister Patrick Manning and former Tobago MP Vernella Alleyne-Toppin.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.


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