Government agencies including the National Health Fund, Jamaica’s Agricultural Society and the National Housing Trust also invested millions of dollars in Stocks and Securities Limited, Clarke said.
Jamaica’s Financial Services Commission began investigating after the company alerted authorities this month that a manager had apparently committed fraud.
Since then, the commission’s director has resigned, and Clarke has placed the Bank of Jamaica in charge of regulating the island’s financial system.
“There is no need to panic,” he said. “Despite this most unfortunate development, Jamaica’s financial sector remains strong.”
The company has not returned emailed requests from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Clarke said authorities are working to uncover every detail of the alleged fraud.
“They will unearth exactly how funds were allegedly stolen, who benefitted from such theft and who organized and collaborated in this,” he said.
Clarke said the government also will seek forfeiture of any assets that might have been bought with the alleged stolen funds. He added that the government will soon approve stiffer penalties for white-collar crimes.
“If you rob depositors or you defraud investors … and you put our financial system and our way of life at risk, the Jamaican society wants you put away for a long time,” he said.