Burrowes recommends 18 charges for Town Clerk and City Treasurer
Chairman of the Implementation Committee, Mr. Keith Burrowes, has written to Mr. Ganga Persaud, Minister of Local Government and to Minister Mr. Norman Whittaker recommending that 18 charges be laid against the Mayor and City Council’s Town Clerk Yonette Pluck and the City Treasurer Andrew Meredith.
The Ministry of Local Government made the disclosure that they had discovered that the Mayor and City Council owes various entities over $1B. This was disclosed at a press conference on Wednesday at the Ministry of Local Government. According to reports, the investigation was sparked by allegations against the Town Clerk and the Treasurer by the Auditor General’s office. The probe soon became more detailed.
Burrowes is asking that the two be charged with failing to pay the National Insurance Scheme in breach of N.I.S. Act; failing to remit P.A.Y.E. in breach of Tax Act, failure to provide annual statements of earnings to all employees in breach of Tax Act, failure to pay G.W.I. amounts lawfully due, and failing to pay G.P.L. amounts lawfully due.
The two are also accused of failing to pay into the treasury of the M&CC, a Manager’s cheque for $500,000 received from Scrap Dealer, Ramchand Netram, for sale of scrap metal including an incinerator, in violation of Section 149 of the M & D. C. Act, Chapter 28.01.
Burrowes also claims that the two officials failed to adequately deal with overtime abuse and to control payroll costs and to adequately control the issue of gasoline and dieseline from M&CC location at Princes Street.
Further, the two allegedly failed to protect M&CC assets, especially expensive Garbage Trucks recently acquired. They further failed to establish a system of Internal Audit in violation of Section 200 of Municipal and District Councils Act Chapter 28.01 (M & D.C. Act).
Burrowes is also contending that they failed to manage a temporary overdraft account of the Council, which according to Section 173, may only be operated ”temporarily” “pending receipt of revenues” in clear violation of Section 173, a council’s overdraft has remained at approximately $50 million for over two years.
Moreover, the two allegedly failed to submit to Minister of Local Government not later than March 31, in every year, written reports of all moneys received, expended and applied during the preceding financial year in violation of Section 156 of M & D.C. Act, Chapter 28.01.
Among the findings, was the existence of “dummy companies”, ridiculously high overtime claims, high debts, fuel fraud, abuse of company resources for personal use and unauthorized loans.
The probe was executed by a special team headed by Keith Burrowes and the exposures, according to him, were “most shocking.”
Burrowes said that over a year ago, he and his team, after investigations, prepared a report of recommendations and handed it over to the City Council. He said that the Ministry of Local Government and the City Council then reached agreement for the 40 “key” recommendations to be implemented within the City Council system.
Burrowes said that all equipment needed to implement the recommendations was handed over to the council, including a number of computers. “From the findings of this report, not one of the recommendations was implemented.”