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The speed with which Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo exulted after the announcement from the DPP office that the case of the loan taken out by him from the SBM for the sum of 1.1 million euros will be shelved for lack of conclusive evidence raises questions. many questions. The reaction gave the impression as if everything was known in advance. However, the first question that the public had to ask itself is simple: When the ICAC decided to hand over the file after its investigation to the DPP we cannot believe that it was not at least convinced that there had been an offense. Whether the DPP’s office decides otherwise “for lack of solid evidence” falls within its own discretion and to which it has the most absolute right.

However, the Minister confuses not being prosecuted and being proven innocent. He is innocent as long as he is not found guilty. That’s the formula. But let’s try to see things as they are:

  1. The Minister obtains a loan of 1.1 million euros (c.Rs.40m) at an interest rate of 1% which he uses to speculate on gold.
  2. If Bank SBM agreed to advance him this sum to do what he wants, he is certainly not responsible. It is up to the Bank to assume its responsibilities. Except that the Chairman of this bank turns out to be close to Vishnu and that the bank itself is a quasi-governmental institution while the “borower” is himself Minister of Finance. This all doesn’t look very pretty.
  3. The interest rate is lower than the repo rate, i.e. completely outside the normal rate practiced by the banking sector in general. Once again if the bank agreed to this exceptional package it is not Vishnu’s fault, even if he is the Minister responsible for the government bank, in a way. 
  4. When members of the general public take out loans from the SBM they are obliged to comply with conditions which are far from being complacent and above all will they never be allowed to speculate with the money advanced by the bank !!

So we can still assume that the SBM, a government bank, was very generous towards the man who was, at the time of the events, the Minister of Finance of this country. All Mauritians know that the SBM falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance. A self-respecting Minister would have had a little self-esteem not to rejoice at the announcement from the DPP’s office because if there is no solid evidence despite the ICAC report, public opinion is a court of a different kind. If the Minister could hear the comments of these hundreds of thousands of respectable Mauritians who abhor favoritism, he would perhaps have been more humble. And above all, be careful not to take the slightest legal action against the SBM, the very one that has been so generous to it!!!



Souvenir Advance Magazine 18 Sep 2017, launched by Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Leader of the Mauritius Labour Party.

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