The Mayor and City Councilors (M&CC) have once again expressed discontent over the manner in which public agencies are dealing with reports of misappropriation of Council funds.
The council has called on the relevant agencies to be impartial and professional in the execution of their duties and to conduct the necessary investigations as it relates to the inconsistencies occurring under the tenure of acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba.
In a missive to the media, the Council expressed “serious dissatisfaction regarding the way the relevant agencies have been treating the misappropriation of money from its treasury.” One instance mentioned is the alleged use of half a million dollars by Sooba in her personal capacity.
The embattled Town Clerk is accused of using the Council’s money to hire legal representation in a case in which she was not a party but would be affected by the outcome. The Mayor and Councilors said that despite reports to the police, the Auditor General’s office and even legal proceedings pertaining to the matter, nothing has been done.
The Council reported that Sooba took the $500,000 without the permission of the Council. “This is particularly disturbing in light of the poor financial state of the Council and that no individual has the right to use Council finances without the expressed permission of the Council. This is highly irregular and unusual, yet there has been no word on this issue.”
The missive stated that Deputy Mayor, Ms. Patricia Chase-Green had reported the misappropriation to the Office of the Auditor General and to the police but so far, nothing has happened. “As it now stands, Council is not certain about the real state of its finances.”
However, allegations by Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker have surfaced about Mr. Royston King granting exemption to Beacon Foundation. “This is an attempt to divert the public from the real situation at City Hall. Section 212 of the law is clear on the question of exemption,” the Councilors noted.
“Nevertheless, the Minister has not said a word about the $500,000 taken by Ms. Carol Sooba. In the meantime, Ms. Sooba continues to handle Council’s money, a large portion of which are payments made by poor property owners.”
The Council has noted that by way of resolution, Sooba was removed from the position of Town Clerk (Ag) and as far as they are concerned, she is not the acting Town Clerk. They reaffirmed their position that the Minister has no authority to appoint any officer at the Council.
They say that Sooba is squatting in the office and has seized all the facilities, denying elected Councillors and citizens the right to manage the affairs of the City. “The Mayor and City Council is calling on the relevant agencies to take action against the acts of Sooba and save the Council from this burden that has been placed by the Central Government.”
Auditor General Deodat Sharma had commenced the investigation of the alleged misappropriated funds in April last, but ceased.
He told Kaieteur News on Tuesday that the matter was before the court and he would be unable to continue his work. He said that he had expressed to the Deputy Mayor that he would have to seek legal advice on the way forward, especially since the Attorney General Anil Nandlall is also part of the court proceedings.
However, since legal documents were filed against the use of the half a million dollars, the Council said nothing has been done. City Hall has itself been at the centre of many corruption allegations which lead to investigations and recommendations at the agency. Previous Town Clerks have also lost their jobs as a result.
“The Mayor and City Councilors continue to call upon all citizens to raise their voices against the injustices which are perpetuated against the Council and by extension, the citizens of Georgetown. Citizens must call on the Government to hold Local Government Elections,” the release urged.
Jun 03, 2020By Franklin Wilson Just over a year ago, the weekend of May 4th & 5th, 2019 to be exact, the powerlifting duo of Carlos Petterson-Griffith and Ms. Junica Pluck left these shores to compete at the...
Jun 03, 2020
Jun 03, 2020
Jun 03, 2020
Jun 02, 2020
Jun 02, 2020
In March 2016, I got into a big newspaper clash with Henry Jeffrey over a statement he made. I thought it was extremely... more
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]