CIP boss officially leaves office next month

Former Chief Executive Officer Citizenship by investment Unit Chisanga-Puta-Chekwe

The resignation of the CEO of the Citizenship by Investment (CIP) Unit, Chisanga Chekwe will take effect on April 7.

The deputy, Thomas Anthony, who will act as the head in the interim, confirmed this for OBSERVER media. He also said the outgoing CEO went on leave on March 11.

With only six months on the job, Chekwe abruptly tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, in December 2016, citing personal reasons.

Browne had declined to disclose why the Canadian was severing ties with the unit. But on Thursday in  Parliament, a clearer picture of the possible causes emerged when the prime minister said that he and Chekwe differed on some things, including the transfer of money from the CIP Fund to central government.

The Canadian presided over the unit from July to December 2016, a period in which there was a slight decrease in CIP applications — 143 compared with 147 for the first quarter of that same year.

That is according to the six-month report laid by the prime minister in Parliament on Thursday.

The latest figures for applications resulted in 271 persons receiving Antigua & Barbuda passports in the second half of last year.

There were new applications from Australia (1); Canada (2); Germany (1); Korea (1); South Korea (1); Mali (1); Uganda (1); United Kingdom (2); and USA (8).

According to the document, 91 of the applicants invested in the National Development Fund (NDF); 27 in real estate and 25 in business investments.

The base investment contribution for that period amounted to $19,300,000.

Overall CIP earnings for 2016 were down, with the initiative pumping $76,564,508.61 into the public coffers. The figure was just over $100 million in 2015.

Government officials had forecast last December, that revenue would decline because more CIP applicants were investing in real estate, businesses, and individual government-sponsored projects instead of the National Development Fund (NDF).

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