Dec 01, 2015 News
…claims hundreds of millions being withheld
By Enid Joaquin
Interim Management Committee (IMC) Chairman of the Linden Mayor and Town Council, Orrin Gordon, is demanding that NICIL (National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited) release some $270 million being withheld from the municipality by the entity.
“Let them release the gravy train! We need the money to take care of the municipality’s business!”
Gordon, in a recent interview, said that the $270M has been withheld by NICIL for the period 2012-2015. He stated further that the withheld money is even more than that, if consideration was given to the fact that monies were withheld before 2012. However, unfortunately the files containing the evidence of same were lost in the 2012 fire which destroyed the Linmine Secretariat building.
Gordon noted that based on his extrapolation, the money withheld for the period before 2012 would amount to some $420M, bringing the total amount to approximately $690M.
According to the IMC Chairman, his councilors expressed much dissatisfaction and were very agitated at the Council’s Statutory Meeting last week over the receipt of a letter from NICIL indicated that the entity was not in agreement of handing over the withheld money.
“A Special Purpose Company is expected to be formed by NICIL and they are supposed to transfer the withheld funds, but they are refusing to do so, claiming that council never objected to them retaining money.”
Gordon indicated that NICIL is claiming that they would have spent monies on the rehabilitation of the bridge, over the period. He however maintains that the Hinterland Road Programme would have financed the rehabilitation works, and as far as he is aware, NICIL never gave the money back to the Ministry of Public Works that had been expended.
Gordon emphasized that the municipality needs all its revenue, because the bridge is soon due for major repairs and as such council has plans to erect a platform underneath the structure to facilitate those repairs. The platform is expected to cost between $8-9M he added.
Based on an agreement entered into between NICIL and the Municipality, out of the funds garnered from the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge toll, the Linden Municipality would have received 25% plus $300,000 every month after expenditure for maintenance was extracted.
“In 2014, increased rates of toll saw seventy percent going to Council and thirty percent to the maintenance fund, but they are not telling us anything about that, so Government has got to make a decision in this matter.”
Over the years the Linden Municipality has persistently lamented its economic woes and repeatedly called on the Ministry of Public Works of the previous administration for help in addressing the situation.
Instead, however, the Kara Kara Toll booth which garnered much needed revenue for the municipality was disbanded after it was deemed illegal by then Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development Norman Whittaker.
Presently the Mackenzie/ Wismar Bridge is the biggest earner of revenue for the cash-strapped Council, according to Gordon. The bridge and other assets of Linmine, such as the Watooka Club, which were not transferred to BOSAI after the company was privatized, became vested in NICIL, which was established in the 1990s for the privatization of state assets.
Recently a forensic audit into the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) was completed and recommendations were made for the entity to be scrapped and a small department be established under the Ministry of Finance.
This recommendation has the support of several government officials, this newspaper understands.
The report recommended that there is no need for NICIL to remain a company and therefore should be liquidated, paving the way for government to establish a department to manage those assets being held by the entity.
The forensic audit into the operations of NICIL exposed several breaches of the country’s financial regulations.
Sep 22, 2021Kaieteur News – The National Sports Commission yesterday covered in totality, the cost for Carlos Peterson-Griffith to attend the 2021 World Classic Powerlifting Championships in Halmstad,...
Sep 22, 2021
Sep 22, 2021
Sep 22, 2021
Sep 21, 2021
Sep 21, 2021
Kaieteur News – A hive of activity is taking place at present in New York. The General Debate of the General Assembly... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders The public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has rightly focused the attention and... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, 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]