Maritime, Central Bank in talks over CLICO, BAT portfolio-sale lawsuit

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Central Bank of TT –

ATTORNEYS for Maritime Life (Caribbean) Ltd and the Central Bank are expected to hold discussions on the lifting of an injunction which prevented the sale of the traditional insurance portfolios (TIPS) of Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) and British-American Insurance Company (Trinidad) Ltd (BAT).

The parties are also expected to hold talks on the future of a lawsuit filed by Maritime challenging the Central Bank’s decision to award the sale of CLICO and BAT’s TIPs to Sagicor Life Inc, given that the bank relinquished its emergency control over CLICO in December 2022.

On Thursday, Maritime’s lawsuit against the bank came up for hearing before Justice Devindra Rampersad, who agreed to give the parties additional time to talk and report back to him on lifting the injunction. If there is no agreement by the next hearing, the judge will give directions for the matter by March 29.

He also agreed to give the attorneys until September to report on the future of the challenge before him.

The case returned to Rampersad’s docket after the Privy Council, in October 2022, dismissed the Central Bank’s appeal of the leave Rampersad granted to Maritime on April 6, 2020, and the interim injunction he imposed preventing it from progressing with the sale of the TIPs to Sagicor until the case was determined.

In its lawsuit, Maritime accused the bank of acting irrationally, unfairly, and unconstitutionally by entering into sale and purchase agreements with Sagicor Life for an undisclosed sum.

Maritime’s bid for the Clico portfolio was approximately $7.86 billion, and $516.8 million for BAT. It claimed its bid was some $400 million more than Sagicor’s.

The bank appealed Rampersad’s leave, but in February 2021, Justices of Appeal Ronnie Boodoosingh and James Aboud held, in separate but unanimous decisions, that Rampersad was not wrong, and dismissed the bank’s appeal. Justice Peter Rajkumar dissented.

In its claim, Maritime alleged Sagicor’s bid was conditional, yet it was accepted outside the bidding requirements and there was no due diligence over the bidding process.

CLICO and BAT were subsidiaries of the CL Financial conglomerate which was put into liquidation in 2017 to clear its remaining debt arising from the multi-million bailout by the government in 2009.

Representing the bank were Ian Benjamin, SC, and Kerwyn Garcia.

Representing Maritime are Edward Fitzgerald, KC, Fyard Hosein, SC, Sasha Bridgemohansingh, Aadam Hosein and Anette Mamchan.