Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has questioned whether or not Finance Minister Colm Imbert personally benefitted from tax exemptions on a 55-million-dollar housing project resulting from a bill he passed.
At the United National Congress Monday Night Forum in St Helena, Persad-Bissessar said Minister Imbert and his wife Suzanne Williams Imbert became the directors of a company called Belgrave Properties Limited in 2012, which owned properties at 61, 63 and 65 Picton Street, Port-of-Spain.
She said in 2016 Minister Imbert brought a bill to Parliament which would exempt multi-family dwelling units from taxes up to December 2025.
She added that the bill also exempts the owners from paying taxes on gains and profits from the initial sale of such units if the construction started after July 2016.
The Opposition Leader said that Minister Imbert has since commenced construction of luxury apartments called ALLORA when sold would amount to 55 million dollars.
Persad-Bissessar then demanded that Minister Imbert say when the construction of the ALLORA apartments started and if it commenced after 2016, whether or not he declared his interest and recused himself when this bill was being drafted by the Cabinet or when it came to Parliament.
“This Minister sat in the house, piloted the bill, closed the debate and voted on the bill. Himself to himself, I am asking when did the construction begin.”
She said she is waiting patiently for the answers from Minister Imbert as this may also be a matter for the Integrity Commission to look into.
Reporter: Chester Sambrano