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Monday, April 12, 2021
Home General Public finances (SSB): private business (Intelco)

Public finances (SSB): private business (Intelco)

This week, another Pandora?s Box was opened when the Opposition UDP newspaper, the Guardian, and Channel 7 News, a privately owned television station which is considered UDP friendly, both reported that the Social Security Board had been paying loans for Intelco?s principal, Glenn Godfrey, an attorney who also owns Provident Bank and the Data Pro, an EPZ park in Ladyville.


According to Channel 7 News, over $6 million from Social Security?s funds have been used to pay Godfrey?s mortgage payments.


The television station stated that, according to the chairman of the Social Security Board Yasin Shoman, ?Since November of last year, Godfrey has been having financial difficulties and asked for time to make payments on DFC loans.?


The news report goes on to say that the DFC loans, which Godfrey allegedly obtained while he chaired DFC, were securitized to a foreign bank, but guaranteed by the Social Security Board, meaning that if Godfrey defaults, the SSB would have to pay.


So far, the Government of Belize has made direct payments of over $1.3 million to the International Bank of Miami (IBOM) on Intelco?s behalf. Despite a ?past due? notice that surfaced after the GOB payments to IBOM in March and April, Finance Minister, Hon. Ralph Fonseca, had publicly said that Government was not paying for Intelco?s default, per se, but for services and equipment that Intelco had provided for Government?s offices.


In 2000, Government had entered into a 15-year agreement with Intelco?s forerunner, LGS, for exclusive services. However, it was later revealed that the Prime Minister himself, while saying publicly that the Government was committed to opening up the telecommunications market for competition, had confessed that he was encouraging BTL?s former owner, Ashcroft, to buy out Intelco.


The BTL-Intelco conversation quickly ended when Aschroft became convinced that the company was not worth the asking price.


In 2003, Government again brokered a telecommunications sell-out. This time, it was the sale of BTL?s majority shares to American Jeffrey Prosser, of Innovative Communication Corporation.


It has been widely reported that Prosser is currently negotiating with Godfrey to buy over Intelco, which would undoubtedly improve Godfrey?s liquidity.

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