Hic ! My oh my, what a chap ! Who needs a booze or a joint to get high? The lyrics from his articles and speeches can drool any sober mate in ecstasy for days sparing any liver impairment. If economics is about alternative social schemas constituting the realm of both fiction and fantasy, he undeniably thrives in both dimensions. A perfect cast, should Martin Scorsese produce “The Swine of Sir William Newton Street”.
Fit to be a Shakespearean character putting to shame the mighty Lago, he is one of the greatest sesquipedalian to have graced our land. Surely one of God’s blunders. For this man must have been destined to rule over the civilised world but instead was thrown on a tiny rock in the middle of nowhere. What a powerful speaker he is ! From Frédéric Bastiat to Sherlock Holmes and every saloon jargon, he knows it all. A blue pill on his own. Hic ! Oye Oye , here comes the Roi.
He might well be the most conceited personality, tax payers of our country have ever paid. Here is somebody who takes home millions, throws lavish parties at our expense yet dares to accuse us of living above our means and abusing the savings of foreign citizens. How can you be so selective, Ramesh? Was it not one of your all time favourite, Oscar Wilde who stated “… to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting”?
Running through his latest exposé on BAI published in L’Express of 24th May, it is obvious something is bugging the bloke! Or else why should he insist on repeating himself ullus annus (every year). Could it be an ailment, a troubled conscience or simply the need to establish control over a situation by manipulating it. An effort to sustain an “ illusory truth effect”, which is the tendency to believe false information to be correct after repeated exposure. The efficacy of such tactic however relies on repeating the identical version. The slightest twist can sprout doubt and ultimately backfire. Here is where he gets busted. Let’s undo each juicy chunk in this skewer of deceit.
On 11th May 2015, in a stitched up interview published in L’express and on the website of the BoM, Ramesh Basant Roi states “On March 24 2015, the defunct bank requested for a special line of credit of up to Rs 1.0 billion. Its borrowings from the BoM already stood at about Rs 800 million at the time of the request.” In his op-ed published in L’express of 24 May 2022, the very same Ramesh Basant Roi states “How many billions of rupees did the BoM advance to the BBC and were still outstanding in April 2015?”. Maybe he only wanted to add to the special effects of the scary movie he was reeling !
The interview of 11th May 2015 and the correspondence to the Bramer Banking Corporation (BBC) issued on the night of 2nd April 2015, clearly state that the reason for recalling the extension granted in the morning of 2nd April 2015 was due to the fact that the BoM became aware of the regulatory approval for injection of MUR 350 million would not be obtained. We are here referring to approval by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) for the injection of MUR 350m by BRITAM Kenya. At no point in time did the BoM nor its governor disclose the issue of three senior cadres from its sister companies trying to stash USD 200 million in some other jurisdiction. The story of the 3 monks appeared much later in an interview of Ramesh Basant Roi published in L’express of 28th January 2016 whereby the newspaper goes to the extent of confirming the story as a finding of nTan. A story which has since been served over and over again with different toppings. In the latest version (6 years later ) Ramesh Basant Roi affirms having verified the travel details of the 3 monks. Surely he would not be surprised to learn that the only senior cadre of the BAI to have boarded a flight during the 8 weeks preceding the withdrawal of the license had headed to London. All the others were present in the various meetings with government officials and with Mr Yandraduth Googoolye , first Deputy governor of the BoM. For obvious reasons, in every interview, the journalist never thought of asking the Governor of BoM, how those 3 monks would have transferred USD 200 million to another jurisdiction. Seven years down the line, where is the money? Did the governor of BoM report and provide evidence to the police on the purported attempt to defraud ? Whatever be the explanations of Ramesh Basant Roi for actions carried out on the night of 2nd April 2015, he neglects the fact that Capital had on 1st of April published an article already announcing the execution of BBC. Our source was from within the government, who later confirmed that the extension letter granted in the morning of 2nd April was a mishap, which in fact triggered the expediating of the gameplan.
nTan – The mantra from the Ganges
He never misses an opportunity to refer to the 10 000 pages constituting the nTan report. Pages none of us have seen. Even worse, pages provided by the 2015 gestapo. Let us refresh some minds out there. This is what nTan states in its preamble ‘Where conclusions or inferences have been drawn in this report against individuals and/or entities, such findings or inferences have not been made known to the individuals and/or entities who have therefore not been given the opportunity to comment on or correct the said findings or inferences. This report should be read subject to this limitation. This report is prepared solely for the use of the Bank of Mauritius. We make no representation to any other individual or entity as to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this report and no such other individual or entity should place any reliance whatsoever on the said contents. This report has been prepared by us solely as agents of the Bank of Mauritius and we accept no liability to any other individual or entity whatsoever in relation to or arising out of the contents of the report.’ The uneasiness of the firm to use the term “ Ponzi” is crystal clear and appears to meet the satisfaction of the paymaster by feebly stating “Ponzi like” .
In 2005, Ramesh Basant Roi had refused to publish the findings of nTan in the scam, pertaining to the siphoning of 3,3 billion at the MCB. Back then the BoM even tried to gag the media as to avoid publication of the report. A contrario, on 29th January 2016, Ramesh Basant Roi held a press conference to explain the findings of nTan. When pressed by journalists eager to know the cost of the nTan report, Ramesh Basant Roi replied “ it’s priceless”, later adding that “ it will be cheaper than the fees invoiced by the special administrators. The next day (30th January 2016) participating in a talk show on Radio Plus, Basant Roi admits he is unaware of the charges nTan would be claiming the BoM. Here is a snap of the genius paid millions to oversee our banks.
No representative of nTan was present at the press conference and all queries by the media sent to the head office were left unanswered. In February 2016, Capital revealed that BoM had agreed a secret liability cover worth MUR 100 M with nTan in the event of any lawsuit. Which makes us wonder why should nTan be worried, if it’s convinced of its “own” findings ? No doubt, Ramesh Basant Roi is spot on, when saying the nTan report is “skilfully woven” (interview of 28th January 2016).
The “ Dirty Whites”
“All men have eyes; only a few have the gift of penetration” dixit the pompous Roi himself. Never has truth been so true. With the majority of our countrymen sourcing their opinion from gullible media, no wonder truth remains the eternal casualty. Let’s not deceive the Roi. Let’s penetrate!
Seven years down the line, with all his clueless statements at the national assembly, Ivan Collendavelloo should be looking like a squid drowned in its own ink. What an idiot to claim that “ It all started in Trinidad”. He is the same guy who claims to have brought “sanity to the Financial Sector” and ended up welcoming Álvaro de Oliveira Madaleno Sobrinho in our jurisdiction. However, it is him who let the cat out of the bag. In one of his statements at the national assembly, Ivan Leslie Collendavelloo states “ In 2004, we amended the Bank Of Mauritius Act to stop ….. BAI”. Which brings us to the ultimate question “ Stop from doing what?” Munching into the market share of those who Ramesh Basant Roi NOW terms in his WhatsApp messages as “ Dirty Whites”? Yes the very same people he has been wining and dining with for decades. How shameless and racist can he be?
Why is Ramesh Basant Roi being so selective when referring to the state of BBC back in March 2015 ? While playing down the massive withdrawals from State Owned Enterprises, has he ever mentioned the orchestrated loss of gravity from within the Bank? Capital has been the only media to have disclosed the content of the letter sent out by Ashraf Esmael (CEO of Bramer Bank) on 27th March 2015, explaining the liquidity situation at BBC. A letter which contains damning evidence of the exsanguination of the BBC. That was a three-pronged attack i) massive withdrawals ii) reluctance from BOM to lend additional funds and iii) refusal of major clients to effect repayment of facilities. The three clients standing out of the lot are: The Sugar Investment Trust (MUR 90 million), Omnicane (MUR 80 million) and Beachcomber (MUR 300 million) had been delaying their repayment. Had the total amount of MUR 470 million been repaid by the above named companies back in March 2015, the Bramer Bank would have been saved. Updating their status in June 2022 , we note that SIT is being investigated for a scam of MUR 350 m, both Beachcomber (member of NMH) and Omnicane have received bailouts of nearly MUR 10 billion from the BOM through its bastard offspring, the MIC.
Reminiscence of the Far West
History is packed with examples of how law can be turned into a powerful weapon to coerce or even commit crime. What seemed to be fiction back in 2015 is slowly revealing to be a well knit plan spreading over years to take down the outcast BAI. The same regulators breathing down the neck of BAI, turned a blind eye to the investments made by other insurance companies and funds into conglomerates belonging to their relatives. Back in 2015, the MCB had granted over MUR 1 billion to related parties. Not a word from BOM nor the main stream media on the hundreds of millions lost in Marakesh by NMH. Another perfect example of double standards would be the role played by regulators in protecting shareholders of NMH as they breached both the Securities Act ( 2005) and the Securities Takeover Rules (2010). George Orwell was damn right in stating “ Some are more equal than others”. Can the government and regulators deny having received an official proposal from the BAI in July 2013 to execute a comprehensive divesture plan of all its strategic investments which would have brought down its exposure in related entities to 33% by December 2015 and to 25% by December 2016 ? Why did they rush to take down the company when pan-African investment groups like Old Mutual had lined up for a take over?
One of the privileged witness to the build up is none other than Ramesh Basant Roi himself. In one of the WhatsApp messages sent out after quitting his post he does provide an interesting piece of evidence “I am aware that the dirty whites in the country had Dawood Rawat focused in their radar screen. Let me tell you one thing that many do not dare say : Mauritius will remain in the state of a troubled economy as long the whites have the life of the economy in their grip. It serves their comfort and overall well-being to keep the economy in a state that put them in a strong bargaining power against any Government ”.
In an interview on 14th of May 2020 Ramesh Basant Roi states “My good friend, Nad, we have seen enough of that movie. Have you forgotten how Álvaro was granted an investment banking license by the FSC whilst the BoM had not found him ‘fit and proper’?” Still it was with the blessing of the BOM and its governor that Alvaro Sobrinho managed to move millions of blood stained dollars into our jurisdiction. Strangely law enforcement hasn’t changed much since the days of Roy Bean in the west of Pecos. As the jolly fella judge would say “Hang ’em First, Try ‘em Later”
The former governor of the BOM has been very vocal on the non banking activities of the BAI. His critics echoed by the mainstream media purport emptiness of the sister companies. Strangely BAI had been for long been a major shareholder of La Sentinelle group and until April 2015 the company held 100% of Defimedia ownership. Both these media outlets boast of being the market leader and yet believe BAI investments were phony. Maybe in his next interview, Ramesh Basant Roi would bother to explain how Shibani, a major debtor of Bramer Bank, which was on the brink of chaos was gifted Western Union. The brands held by Iframac are today the prized assets of its former competitors. Ex Apollo Bramwell is now floated as the flagship of CIEL and André Bonieux shamelessly describes Britam Kenya as “The Jewel in the crown”. Once Dawood Rawat expunged, everything seems to be fine.
The 2015 turmoil provided the opportunity to dump corpses resulting from other crimes into the burning pyre . Few would recall that the Mauritius Post & Cooperative Bank Ltd had been ripped raped and looted. Again it was Capital who blew the whistle. Till today not a single comment from the BOM nor its governor on the MPCB.
As long as Ramesh Basant Roi would carry the documents of ex Delphis Bank in his briefcase, he will be safe from any persecution and the MSM will silently put up with his sporadic outbursts. Shedding their embarrassing skin, the former members of the 2013 Economic Dream Team of MMM have started to reveal the role of each teammate in the plan to take down the BAI. Surely there must have been good reasons to nickname Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo “ Razoir” and it would make perfect sense if his good friend Ramesh Basant Roi had acted as shaving foam in this whole story.
The soul freezing question
What could be a better way to bring down the curtain than to put to test Ramesh Basant Roi, the paragon of intelligence, righteousness and integrity? Back in 2004, BAI acquired a property at Felix de Valois street (Vol S672 No. 3). To whom did that property belong? Who proposed or should we say, coerced BAI to acquire that property? That too at an inflated price. In which office was the acquisition discussed with then CEO of BAI ?
Checkmate Ramesh. Hic !