AFC repeats call for criminal investigation at NCN
Alliance for Change Chairman, Nigel Hughes, has reiterated his party’s call for a thorough investigation into the National Communications Network fraud.
During the party’s weekly media briefing, Hughes said his party continues to be disappointed that the fraud and the ever increasing revelations into the operations there have not yet attracted the attention of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
He said that it is also alarming that to date, there has been no institution of criminal charges against those fingered in the fraud.
“We do not believe that it goes well for the rule of law and it certainly does not instill confidence in persons who are responsible for managing the funds of the state and therefore we urge that the criminal investigation into the matter be conducted with due dispatch and that the DPP has that file so that she can consider and issue her advice as appropriate based on what is submitted to her.”
The situation at the state agency has drawn widespread anger and is a major embarrassment for the new PPP/C administration.
A number of dissatisfied staffers leaked records that indicated a seemingly ‘wild west’ situation of advertisements being aired free, and of links between at least one senior staffer and a heavy equipment company.
NCN, during the Budget debates earlier this year, admitted that it raked in more than $500M in revenues, raising eyebrows on why it would still need government allocations.
An angry opposition, upset with NCN’s ‘biased’ coverage to them, blocked a budgetary subsidy for NCN for over $65M. The opposition had called for more accountability and balanced coverage by the state agency.
The special probe at NCN was triggered when GT&T’s CEO, Yog Mahadeo, refused to pay Goolsarran when for a second time he presented an invoice for over $3M in his personal name, instead of NCN. GT&T had launched its own audit. A number of senior officials of the telephone company were sent home, including the Chief Financial Officer. The investigation was ordered by the Office of the President to probe allegations of financial irregularities that occurred between September 2011 and February 2012, regarding payments for the GT&T Jingle and Song Competition.
The Parmesar report made it clear that both the CEO and Goolsarran failed to carry out their duties diligently and professionally.
The report also recommended that the Board of Directors should take necessary actions, including legal ones, to recover loss of revenue for all amounts paid to any individual.
The two, according to the report, tried to pressure staff to backdate key records, in what was seen as an attempted cover-up.