Thursday April 24, 2014 - 10:49 am | Login

VP, UMP, Nagriamel want Bayer out of RBV Board

Three political parties have raised concern over the appointment of Mr Tom Bayer as member of the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu (RBV) Board.
These political parties are Vanua’aku Party (VP), Union of Moderate Parties (UMP) and Nagriamel.
A statement from the Vanua’aku Party head office questioned the decision taken by Minister of Finance, Moana Carcasses, to appoint Mr Bayer who is a former owner and former board member of the European Bank Limited as board member of Reserve Bank of Vanuatu.
The VP stated that this appointment may put into question, in the “public mind and amongst members of the financial institutions, whether the Reserve Bank would continue to adhere diligently to its governance structure”.

“The Reserve Bank of Vanuatu is the country’s monetary authority, responsible for stability and soundness in the country’s financial system.
“It is, therefore, entrusted with the power to supervise commercial banking business and pursue monetary and exchange rates policies that enhances Vanuatu’s financial stability.

“While VP notes that Mr Bayer may have a lot of practical banking experiences to his credit, however, his appointment to the Board of the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu may not be appropriate at this point in time given his past close association with the European Bank Limited and that bank’s past controversial issues with the United States law enforcement agencies.
“Vanua’aku Party maintains that there are areas of central banking operations, such as exchange rates operations, that cannot be exposed to the public and the commercial banks.

If it is exposed, it will have damaging effect on the financial sector stability, as it did in the past leading to many devaluations of the vatu in one year,” the Vanua’aku Party head office stated through a statement.

Meanwhile, the Union of Moderated Parties have also demanded the termination of Mr Bayer from the Reserve Bank.

The UMP President, Serge Vohor raised alarm that Mr Bayer’s past record with the finance centre could see Vanuatu’s status and that of the Vanuatu Government be compromised.

On the other hand the Nagriamel through member of its political commission, Jeff Patunvanu, has voiced concern over Bayer’s appoint to the Reserve Bank’s board stating that the recent colourful description in the media of Bayer being a great asset for RBV may be a total “misleading statement to the public”, especially following his involvement with the European Bank.

“The current government needs to come out clear on their position or if not the RBV itself needs to explain together with the political allies who have landed them in such position,” Patunvanu stated.

Daily Post understands that the RBV Board consists of independent professional individual ni-Vanuatu that includes economists and experienced bankers.

Meanwhile following allegations that Mr Tom Bayer was also a member of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund Board, Daily Post has been told by very reliable source that he is not in the VNPF Board.

Last week Bayer who was involved in banking over the last 30 years in Vanuatu in Vanuatu said he would be taking into the board “practical banking knowledge to the board, which has not had such practical experience before amongst its members”.

The same announcement of Bayer’s appointment to the RBV Board stated that Bayer, who had long been associated with European Bank Limited, a locally licensed bank in Vanuatu, no longer has any ownership interests in that bank and he resigned from its board in 2002 in order to clear his name in a dispute with the US government over the actions of a client of the bank.

That dispute resulted in substantial sums of the bank’s money being frozen internationally and a long running legal battle to have the funds unfrozen.

In the announcement it was revealed that in March of this year, after almost ten years in litigation, European Bank was successful in the USA courts to have all the frozen monies and ten years of interest thereon, released back to the bank.

Bayer was also previously the representative of various international banks in Vanuatu, including the Banque National de Paris (now BNP Paribas).

Daily Post went to the Financial Services Commission to look at European Bank records but was told this could not be allowed according to law that governments such trust companies as it would require consent from the company itself.