Dec 30, 2015 News
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has said that as of Monday, the chambers had received four additional files regarding the fraud investigation into the activities of former Public Service Minister, Dr. Jennifer Westford and her assistant, Margaret Cummings. These files came from the police.
The DPP chambers also clarified that up to last Wednesday, the Chambers had received only six files. On December 9, last, the Guyana Police Force had returned seven of the 24 files to the DPP, for legal advice.
On December 24, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, had said to members of the public, who might have been getting antsy about the status of several cases against former government officials fingered in wrongdoing, that as far as he was aware, Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum, had sent all the requested information to the DPP.
Harmon had stated that Government was awaiting the DPP’s final action in the case.
He had also stated that in Westford’s case the files were submitted to DPP Shalimar Hack, who had requested additional information.
He said that the DPP was an independent office, which would make its findings known in a timely manner.
Dr Westford and her assistant are being investigated in connection with a $500M-plus fraud from state funds that were discovered missing shortly after the May 11 General Elections and the change in Government. Dr Westford, and her assistant, Margaret Cummings, were both questioned in the matter.
In September, police investigators wrapped up the matter and sent the 20-odd files to the DPP for advice on the way forward. However, the DPP wanted more clarity and details on a number of issues and returned the files to the police.
The Ministry of the Presidency had filed an official complaint to the police in late July after finding more than $120M missing from the bank accounts of the Ministry. Investigators eventually stumbled on some $400M more missing from the bank accounts.
The police, to whom the matter had been handed over, had dispatched a special team to the Ministry of the Presidency to examine records of the payments. Several staffers as well as their former Minister and her assistant, were questioned during the probe.
Investigators had initially looked at 2014 transactions at the Ministry but went back to 2012. The monies were transferred from the Office of the President and were to be used for training workers in the various Regions. However, there was no evidence that the Regions were in receipt of any money.
Dr. Jennifer Westford and her assistant, Margaret Cummings, were questioned by police and released on bail. Police sleuths would have wanted to know what role, if any, the two played in the withdrawals.
In July, both women appeared in court charged with the illegal transfer of eight vehicles belonging to the State.
They were placed on a total of $2M in bail. Several persons from the Public Service Minister, who were involved in preparing documents for payments, were questioned.
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