Sep 18, 2016 News
Managing Director of the Guyana Water Inc., Dr. Richard Van West Charles, is facing pressure at
the entity over a number of issues, including accusations of sole sourcing and a poor management style.
Last week, the board met on a motion by Chairman Nigel Hinds, to send him on leave pending a full investigation into alleged abuse of authority and possible practice of favoritism at the water company.
However, the Board decided not to accept the motion. Instead, the board approved an amended motion that will see a number of meetings set for tomorrow with senior staffers and the board.
The Managing Director was recently under fire for hiring a two-time US convicted person, Lear Goring, to manage its Debt Recovery Unit. The board later ended the services of Lear Goring, saying he was unqualified for the job.
A number of senior staffers have given statements to the board raising questions about decisions by the Managing Director.
For example, he allegedly approved an $11M contract for the supply of jerry cans in August to his neighbour in Meadowbrook Gardens.
A full investigation was carried out with a number of procurement breaches cited.
He was also accused of bypassing established procedures, by going out and hiring a number of officials to key positions. There were also a number of procurement breaches cited.
Van West Charles reportedly took a questionable decision to shift GWI”s Internal Audit Department to another location away from the Vlissengen Road headquarters.
On one occasion, he reportedly demanded the keys to boxes that had tender documents secured inside. However, he was refused and later allegedly abused the staffers.
There were also several instances of consultants being hired to do work on GWI’s ICT network but proper procurement procedures were not followed.
The tension between the Managing Director and the Board has attracted the attention of the Ministry of the Presidency with Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, who has responsibilities for the water sector.
Recently GWI retracted a claim by Van West Charles that the entity collected $1.8B in arrears over the past year. The Managing Director was out of the country.
The official came under public scrutiny recently when it became known he was a director of Atlantic Fuels Inc., a company that was granted a fuel import licence late last year.
Van West Charles, the son-in-law of former President Forbes Burnham and a one-time Minister of Health, denied that he ever used his office to get the licence. The company is linked to prominent businessman, Alfro Alphonso.
Contacted over the weekend, Board Chairman, Nigel Hinds, admitted that a motion to send the Managing Director on leave was tabled last week but it was amended to now see a number of meetings with staffers to gauge the morale of GWI, among other things.
He said that matter is engaging Minister Bulkan.
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