Many fraudulent acts detected at City Hall recently – Local Govt. Minister
There have been many frauds detected at City Hall recently, said Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Kellawan Lall, when responding to questions about a fraud that was publicised lately
He revealed that while the recent episode had gained extensive attention, there are many that have occurred at the city entity that have not reached the media.
“There are many, many frauds there… and even many recent frauds. I know a lot more than you have in the newspaper,” said the Minister.
But according to Minister Lall, the investigation into the recent multi-million-dollar fraud is squarely in the hands of the Guyana Police Force.
The Minister disclosed yesterday that based on the preliminary report that he had received from Commissioner of Inquiry, Keith Burrowes, he had taken the necessary action to have the police address the matter.
Last Friday, Burrowes had provided the Minister with a comprehensive report of the preliminary findings of an investigation he had conducted, along with supporting documentations, which on the surface suggest that fraudulent acts were carried out at the municipality.
“I got Mr Burrowes’s report and he made one request of me and that is to call in the police. I have since written to the Minister of Home Affairs and I have also spoken with him, and he has promised to send his officers (to City Hall).”
However, up to yesterday no police officer had visited City Hall, according to Acting Town Clerk, Yonette Pluck-Cort. Based on the Commissioner of Inquiry’s preliminary findings, Lall revealed that there is an indication of fraudulent activities.
He said that Burrowes’s involvement in the matter saw him doing some systematic checks of the municipality’s financial operation.
“He has indicated to me that the system has been breached. It is susceptible to being corrupted and once it is a systemic problem it would suggest that it may not be the only such incident. There are a lot of loopholes for people to conduct illegal transactions so the police are going in there.” Burrowes recently revealed to this newspaper that the continuance of the inquiry into the financial affairs of the municipality is to seek out any evidence of other fraudulent acts.
In fact, he disclosed, the Commission was always aware that there was some level of manipulation of the system based on its findings. However, because of the lack of relevant information, Burrowes said that the Commission was unable to finger specific situations.
Currently, the Commission is focusing on matters such as the issuance of compliances and the waiving of interest to determine whether they were done within the guidelines of the Municipal Act, Chapter 28:01.
Burrowes has pointed out that although concerns have been constantly raised about the delay in the handing over of the report, the Commission cannot complete it and ignore the many glaring facts that have been unveiled.
He pointed out that with the findings of the inquiry he will be amending the report to take into consideration the failures of the system which resulted in the uncovered fraudulent acts and ultimate mismanagement of the system.