Dec 14, 2018 News
Government will allow the Local Government Commission (LGC) to work unhindered on the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry into City Hall. Among them is a call for criminal investigations to be pursued against several senior city officials.
This commitment was given by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, during scrutiny of the 2019 budgetary allocations for the Ministry. In response to questions from Opposition Member, Nigel Dharamlall, Bulkan confirmed receiving the report submitted to the LGC.
“What I am not in receipt of is any further correspondence from the Local Government Commission on how they propose to deal with the report itself. The responsibility for taking the process forward lies with the LGC.
“They are the ones who will be making the determination as to which of the recommendations in the CoI they will act on,” Bulkan told the National Assembly.
Dharamlall sought confirmation of the Minister that the Ministry will not be a hindrance in anyway, towards the implementation of the recommendations of the CoI.
“I don’t propose that the Ministry will be a hindrance in that process,” Bulkan stated.
The CoI report was handed over on November 30, last, by lone Commissioner Justice Cecil Kennard (ret’d) to Chairman of the Local Government Commission (LGC), Mortimer Mingo. The CoI found grounds to terminate embattled Town Clerk, Royston King, and institute criminal proceedings against him.
The report obtained by Kaieteur News indicated that other senior officers be terminated for their poor management of the affairs of the city; and that where irregularities are found, criminal investigation and charges be laid against defaulting officers.
In light of the findings, the CoI recommends that there be further investigations in the form of a forensic audit to be conducted by the Audit Office of Guyana.
The report calls for officers to be disciplined even as that audit is being conducted.
The senior officers listed included, King, who was sent on leave to facilitate the CoI. King is cited for gross misconduct, abuse of office, recklessness, dishonesty, conspiracy, and misappropriation of funds.
Also listed in the report are Acting Town Clerk, Sharon Harry-Munroe who is cited for dereliction of duty and incompetence; Assistant Town Clerk, Sherry Jerrick, for dereliction of duty and incompetence; Internal Auditor, Omodele Umojo-Newton for incompetence and conspiracy; Chief Constable, Andrew Foo for dereliction of duty and incompetence; Human Resources Manager, Paulette Braithwaite for incompetence; City Engineer, Colvern Venture for incompetence and dereliction of duty; and Rashid Kelman for conspiracy.
Further, the report noted that City Treasurer, Ron Mc Calmon, should proceed on early retirement as he is unwell.
Kennard posited that it would only be fair that the CoI recommend a detailed forensic audit be done into all transactions between April 1, 2015, and October 31, 2018.
“I have found that there is prima facie evidence to support skullduggery. Moreover, where there is evidence of such activities, criminal and or civil proceedings should commence forthwith,” Kennard outlined.
As it relates to King, the CoI report stated that while it is ‘the easiest of recommendation to make’, he should be terminated, and criminal charges should be laid against him in respect of his actions.
The report recommends that the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) and the Guyana Police Force should lead a joint probe to ascertain the relevant criminal charge(s) to be laid.
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