AFTER more than six years of legal battle, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of New Building Society (NBS), Maurice Arjoon will be compensated by the state-owned agency for wrongful dismissal by the then Bharrat Jagdeo-led government.
The former CEO had sued the financial institution back in 2011 for wrongful dismissal in 2007. He was fired after being accused of conspiring with two others to defraud NBS of $69M – a case which went to trial and was subsequently dismissed. The money reportedly belonged to Bibi Khan.
The other two accused were the then Assistant Mortgage manager, Kissoon Baldeo, and Operations manager, Kent Vincent. Initially, a decision was expected to be handed down by High Court Judge, Justice Brassington Reynolds on November 29, 2016. After that time had elapsed, July 10, 2017 was announced to be the new date for a ruling. That deadline was also missed.
However, on Monday, the court ruled that the former NBS boss had been wrongfully dismissed by the then government and is entitled to his pension and other benefits which were snatched from him. The amount to which he is entitled to is expected to be decided upon by Justice Reynolds, after assessment today.
In 2007, Arjoon of La Fleur Road, Eccles; Baldeo of Zeeburg, West Coast Demeraram and Vincent of Canje Pheasant Lane, South Ruimveldt were charged for conspiring to defraud NBS of $69M. At that time, Arjoon was on the verge of retirement and would have been paid a pension and other benefits.
After the trio was charged, they faced trial in the Magistrates court but the matter was later thrown out after the main witnesses stopped attending court. The CEO had claimed that he was framed after refusing to illegally endorse the lending of $2B in 2006. His decision to only lend $350M in keeping with the laws of Guyana, reportedly angered then President Bharrat Jagdeo, who allegedly threatened to deal with him.
After being vindicated, the former CEO and the other two managers filed a complaint to the office of the Ombudsman. He subsequently moved to file a $2M lawsuit against the then Peoples’ Progressive Party (PPP) government for malicious prosecution in 2011. A report by the Ombudsman in 2014 had stated that the police at that time had wrongfully charged Arjoon and the two others, and that the men be compensated for losing seven years of their lives.
In an interview with Kaieteur News earlier this year, Arjoon shared that: “My family and I have endured so much suffering during the past decade hoping for justice. I recently lost my son who was also very traumatized by this matter.”
“I hope I receive justice during my lifetime and not posthumously” a hopeful Arjoon said. The matter was also taken to the National Assembly to be debated, but that was stalled pending an outcome of the court matter. Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo also weighed in on the matter last month, offering that: “This is a man who sought relief through the court on [allegations] that an injustice was done to him in the executive sector. The matter has been ongoing for so long. What makes the situation worse is the fact that he [Arjoon] is sick.”