Apr 13, 2018 News
Chairman of the Golden Grove/Diamond Place Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Bharrat Narine, at the Regional Accounting Communities (RAC) meeting last Tuesday, repeated a call for the Auditor General’s office and the Guyana Police Force to ensure that the investigation into the missing $21 million embezzled from the NDC is properly done.
Narine, in a plea on Tuesday, told the Regional Administration Officials that investigations are being done everywhere for what he considered small and petty amounts of money.
There seems to be no investigation for what he dubbed as “mega millions” missing from his NDC.
“I am rising again to plead for this matter to be properly investigated. We cannot sit by as an NDC and have these millions missing and nothing being done,” he said.
“Since this matter was exposed, officials from the Auditor General’s office visited and said that they have a lot of work. That is all we have heard from them; this is not good enough as with only 60% of the internal audit completed, we found that $21 million was missing.
“With the remaining 40% still to be completed, the missing money is estimated to be around $30 million,” he added.
He told the RAC meeting that the NDC officials were very disappointed when they uncovered the fraud. Narine said that the fraud occurred from August 2015 to February 9, 2017.
The alleged suspect, Latoya Moore, was called to a meeting on February 9, 2017 to answer questions surrounding the missing monies. However, the following day she tendered her resignation without giving any reason.
The Chairman said that the police and the Region have been involved in the matter from day one but “I can’t understand this. Why can’t this young lady be arrested and charged or fully investigated,” Narine asked.
According to Narine, the matter continues to remain in the hands of the Auditor General who said there seems to be a lack of interest in doing anything about it. He said the matter has been in the AG’s office since last year and nothing has been done as yet.
“We are exceptionally hurt because it has been so long and nothing has happened…I know that you and your office have been seeking to help in having this matter properly addressed. However, nothing has happened.
“We have been raising this matter over and over at all levels of meetings being held here at the RDC but nothing has happened and I am aware that [the] Regional Chairman has been trying to have it addressed,” he said.
Narine added that persons who commit these acts must be held accountable. When they are caught and held accountable, it would help strengthen the NDC while preventing a repeat of same.
Last March, the $21 million fraud was reportedly uncovered by councillors after routine checks were done.
It is believed that staffers, including one involved in collecting rates and taxes, hatched a scheme to steal the monies. The theft took place over a period of 18 months.
Using books similar to what the NDC has, the staffers reportedly issued receipts to unsuspecting residents of the Grove and Diamond areas.
Narine told Kaieteur News that no one has been questioned about the missing $21 million, he said he believe that Moore is not the only one responsible for taking the money and other workers at the NDC must be questioned.
He told Kaieteur News that officers from Guyana Police Force visited Moore’s home on two occasions but were told she was not around.
In an effort to stop the fraud, Narine said the Grove/Diamond NDC has installed cameras in the tax collection room; a glass window, which allows supervisors to see inside the room has also been installed.
The Chairman said that the RDC will be providing NDCs with receipt books; these books, he said, will be stamped with the RDC stamp and given to the NDCs only when they need same.
The Chairman explained that in 2016, the NDC collected $41 million for a $91 million budget.
He said, after uncovering the fraud, in 2017, the NDC collected $75.2 million. He said that the NDC is now able to provide better service to the community with the monies that they were able to collect.
“We were able to do much more with the monies [that] we collected after we uncovered the fraud,” he said.
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