$20 Million Stolen From St. Kitts Nevis Development Bank Under Team Unity

$20 Million Stolen From St. Kitts Nevis Development Bank Under Team Unity

The Development Bank has hired a Special Prosecutor to hold the Unity administration, led by Timothy Harris, responsible for the theft of almost $20 million in Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC$20 million), six months after the Unity administration was overthrown after its abrupt demise in March 2022.

In order to bring about what it called “a new paradigm of transparency, good governance, and the rule of law” for the benefit of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, Team Unity was established in 2013 under the direction of Dr. Timothy Harris.

Concerns about alleged abuses of governmental power, victimization of public employees, nepotism and cronyism, and concealment of public information, such as the IMF Article IV consultation on the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis, surfaced not long after the installation of the new administration in 2015.

The St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party, the then opposition, also charged that the Harris government had undermined the Public Accounts Committee’s already meager ability to carry out its oversight duties by repealing the statute governing it.

When the Unity Administration took office in February 2015, Mr. Lenworth Harris, who had been fired from his position as Chief Executive Officer of the Development Bank in 2014 due to allegations of egregious wrongdoing detailed in a 2013 report on the bank, was swiftly reinstated by his brother, the new Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

The Development Bank’s Board of Directors was unable to exercise nearly the same level of control and monitoring over the reinstalled CEO as it should have, according to reports from unnamed people within the organization.

The informants bemoaned the decline in the bank’s standards of governance and the uncertainty surrounding whether the board of directors or the head of the Development Bank would uphold their fiduciary duty.

A new bank temporary CEO was placed when the new Dr. Terrance Drew-led administration took power in August of last year with a view to answering the myriad unanswered concerns.

It was instantly obvious from a quick examination that the old CEO had run amok at the bank. A Canadian accounting company was hired to conduct a forensic audit on the Development Bank later in 2022, and the results showed that $20 million was missing.