Saturday, January 10, 2009

Top Story... startling news... don't think so...

The media reporting on this file is getting funnier everyday... today's front page top news story... "Probe widens into PNP" sounds like something startling has come about but as it turns out the auditor is only doing what you would expect him to do... "conduct interviews with people involved"... so how has the Probe widened and where is the news in this? Back in October when the auditor announced he was going to investigate the Provincial Nominee Program the media went into a frenzy and the rumour mills went in full gear to the point that from the outside looking in anyone who took advantage of the program was stealing Government money or doing something illegal... I was starting to hear ridiculous accusations about businesses taking advantage of the program, including my own, so in November I decided to fire off a letter to the Provincial auditor as I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of... and I'm proud to be able to invest in our Community...
here are some excerpts of that letter...

Dear Mr Younker:

I have become aware of an increasing number of rumours circulating in the
Prince Edward Island community that I, and various companies, comprising
the A.P.M. Group have exploited the Provincial Nominee Program to the
extent of receiving as many as 30 units of investment. I wish to set the
record straight, and quash these unfounded rumours....

Basically the letter goes on to outline the details of a manufacturing company I own that has 17 employees that was a recipient of the program and another manufacturing company that has 12 employees which I am a part owner in was also a recipient under the Binns Government. As I am not the controlling shareholder and I have other partners I don't have the right to disclose the detailed information to the public but I clearly have given Mr. Younker all the facts related to these companies... the letter continues on to say...

..neither I nor any company in the A.P.M. Group have received any
income, dividends, repayment of shareholders loans or any other payment
of any kind from...(these companies)... other company directly or indirectly controlled by me, my spouse, or any
other member of my family has received any investments under the Provincial
Nominee Program, nor has any application been made under the Program....

I further invite you to conduct whatever examinations, investigations or
interviews, directly related to the Provincial Nominee Program, that you
consider appropriate with myself, my bank, the financial records of the A.P.M. Group
of Companies and my professional advisors to verify my involvement, or lack thereof,
in the Provincial Nominee Program. I am available to meet with you at your convenience to discuss any aspect of this letter.
Yours truly,

Timothy R. Banks,
, A.P.M. Group of Companies

Here is Mr. Younker's response...

-----Original Message-----
From: Colin Younker []
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 10:21 AM
To: Tim Banks
Subject: Re: Provincial Nominee Program

Tim, thank you for your information, we will review it and if we have any questions or need clarification we appreciate your offer for us to contact you.

It's been nearly 6 weeks since I got this note from Mr. Younker and I don't expect to hear from him as there is absolutely nothing to "uncover". I expect this will be pretty much the same with 97% of all recipients and the immigrants of the program and I'm sure there will be a few examples of poor judgement, paperwork, etc... but nothing more than the usual optics associated with any program.... I wish the media would wait until they have all the facts from Mr. Younker's report before they lend substance to what may just be unfounded rumours...

Probe widens into PNP
The Guardian
The province’s auditor general wants to hear from immigrants who invested in P.E.I. companies through the Provincial Nominee Program. Colin Younker is in the midst of his investigation into the PNP, launched in October after a number of controversial aspects of the program began surfacing. He has spent the last few months reviewing files within the Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning and conducting interviews with people involved in the administration of the program. Now the auditor general is interviewing immigrants who came to P.E.I. by investing in local companies through this program. He’s putting the word out to any immigrants who fit this bill he’s interested in hearing from them if they would like to provide information. Younker’s office has placed ads in local newspapers to get the word out. “Any immigrants who participated in the program, if they’re interested in talking to us can contact our office,’’ Younker said.The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) fast-tracked Canadian visas to immigrants who invested $200,000 on P.E.I. A portion of each investment went into an Island company. The program was established to encourage more immigration to the province. But serious questions have been raised about how the program was run after it was uncovered several MLAs and the former deputy minister in charge of the program accessed PNP money. Questions have also been raised about hefty bonuses paid to employees who processed applications, about which Island business owners benefited from the immigrant funds, and why so many applications were put through in the last four months before the program ended. A total of 1,877 PNP applications were processed between May and Sept. 2, 2008. This is more than double the total amount processed in all of 2007. Some immigrants have raised questions also about the way their investments were handled. The PNP saw immigrants invest in P.E.I. companies by purchasing only preferred shares. The immigrants therefore do not have an active role within these companies. The newcomers have also complained of problems in accessing $25,000 good faith deposits they were charged in addition to their PNP investments. Opposition Leader Olive Crane is calling for a public inquiry into the program. She has been pushing to have PNP administrators, as well as former deputy minister Brooke MacMillan and current deputy Michael Mayne, to appear before the public accounts committee to answer questions about the PNP. Innovation Minister Richard Brown has refused to allow this.And as each of these items have one by one come to light over the past months, Younker has been conducting his investigation. Immigrants who wish to provide information are asked to call his office at 368-4520 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Younker told The Guardian he hopes to have the final report on his PNP probe complete in time for his annual report, usually released in April.

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