City Hall fraud probe to conclude shortly – Ganga Persaud
Investigations into fraud involving six senior officers of Georgetown Municipality may soon conclude, depending on findings of the Auditor General’s report.
The officers have been issued additional leave to facilitate the investigations which began several weeks ago.
The six officers sent on leave are Town Clerk, Yonette Pluck; Treasurer, Andrew Meredith; City Engineer, Gregory Erskine; Personnel Officer, Paulette Braithwaite; Assistant Town Clerk, Harry Munroe; and Solid Waste Manager, Hubert Urling.
Investigations by the Guyana Police Force began at the behest of the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Ganga Persaud, following revelations of massive irregularities at City Hall. The irregularities were pointed out in a report prepared by Ramon Gaskin, on behalf of a special committee to probe the troubled City Council. The matter is also being investigated by the Auditor General Office.
According to Persaud yesterday, the Auditor General Office may be in the position within the next nine days to conclude its report on its investigations based on issues raised and identified. However, the Force may take some time after because they will have to interact with the findings of the Auditor General’s report.
Persaud noted that that will help the force determine whether they need to follow-up additional issues or go deeper into current issues that they would have focused on.
He related that officials of the Ministry and operatives of the Council are becoming impatient with the length of the investigations. However, discourses with the Guyana Police Force and the Auditor General Office have pointed out several complexities of the investigations.
Some complexities include ready access to previous records at the level of the Council; proper documentation of records from one office to another; and issues with ascertaining who are being paid, their locations and overtime record keeping.
He emphasized that there is also discrepancies in the payment of salaries – some junior officers are being paid higher salaries than their superiors.
“And as such we wish to commend the Guyana Police Force and the Auditor General’s Office for the thoroughness with which they have approached the investigations thus far. And I use the plural because while the police force and Auditor General Office work collaboratively, there are instances where they worked independently,” Persaud said.