As if an ongoing court case involving fraud is not enough, Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Carvil Duncan, is now facing more troubles.
This time, the trade unionist, is set to be investigated by a tribunal which will determine whether he is fit to continue as Chairman of that body.
The official has been facing pressure to resign after he was slapped with fraud charges earlier this year. Those charges stemmed from findings that he, as director of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL), took it upon himself to pay himself almost $1M in backpay.
Former Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Aeshwar Deonarine, who has since fled the country, was also accused of conspiring with Duncan to pay himself more than $27M.
The case against Duncan is currently before the Georgetown Magistrates Court, and in the closing stages.
Today, President David Granger is set to swear in the members to the tribunal. They are Justice Roxanne George, Justice (ret’d) Winston Patterson and Attorney-at-Law, Robert Ramcharran.
According to Government officials, the tribunal was appointed by the President to investigate whether Duncan ought to be removed because of misconduct or other reasons.
The tribunal would have to determine whether Duncan is also physically and mentally capable of running the commission, a senior Government official confirmed yesterday.
The commission is critical, having been tasked with making appointments to public offices and to remove and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such Offices.
Its responsibilities include recruitment, promotions, dismissals; resignations; secondment, reclassifications and transfers.
In April, there were calls for Duncan to step down from the commission.
Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, in a Government statement, said that he had written to the trade unionist requesting that he show cause why a tribunal should not be established, as provided for by Article 225 of the Constitution of Guyana, to address the question of his removal from the constitutional offices.
Duncan not only sits as Chairman of that commission, he is also a member of the Police Service Commission and of the Judicial Service Commission.
“Prime Minister Nagamootoo wrote to Mr. Duncan in view of the offences for which he has been charged, which are at present engaging the attention of the court,” the release said in April.
Nagamootoo advised Duncan, in the letter, that the procedure has been invoked on the basis that the offences for which he has been charged, place him in a position where it is necessary for him to defend the charges before the court.
“And further, that there is concern that during this period he will be unable to perform the duties imposed upon him by the Constitution, in relation to the aforementioned constitutional offices that he holds.”
Nagamootoo advised Duncan that he regarded the letter as his opportunity to inform the exercise of his (the Prime Minister’s) discretion to advise President David Granger whether to establish the tribunal.
The letter was dispatched on March 29, 2016 and the Prime Minister requested a response within 14 days of receipt. A defiant Duncan, however, has resisted the calls to step down.
“I do not see it that way. The matter is being looked at by my lawyer,” Duncan told Kaieteur News in an invited comment back in February.
That month, Duncan was placed on $1M bail after he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Prime Minister had said then, that he believes that it’s up to the embattled Duncan to do the honorable thing and remove himself from the Constitutional Commissions he currently sits on.
“I would expect that there would be a public interest side of this. I’m not judging him, because a man is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. But it’s maybe up to him to withdraw from all of these positions,” the Prime Minister had told this newspaper.
Duncan holds top positions in the Guyana Labour Union and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), two bodies that aligned itself with the previous administration.
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