An overseer attached to a Corentyne Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) has allegedly ‘employed’ at least two Government part-time workers unknown to them and has allegedly been pocketing their salaries.
The issue was raised at a recent meeting of the Johns-Port Mourant NDC.
There are reports that the overseer forged the signatures of the two men, who according to the records are employed with the Rose Hall Town Municipality.
The Regional Democratic Council (RDC) in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) has remained silent on the issue when contacted.
Regional Commander, Senior Superintendent Shivpersaud Bacchus said no matter of forgery or embezzlement at the Johns-Port Mourant NDC has been brought to the attention of the Police.
However, NDC Chairman Vimen Armogan has confirmed that the Regional Executive Officer (REO) has informed them of the matter, but who is investigating the issue remains unclear.
NDC Councillors said at the RDC level, the overseer has been advised to repay the money, but this, they said, is wrong and the regional office should not treat the matter so lightly.
This resulted in NDC officials informing senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, who also has ministerial responsibility for Region Six.
When asked about the issue by this publication, Dr Singh said, “I have heard mention of a matter concerning an investigation at Port Mourant NDC. I have requested any reports that would be documented what would have transpired and I am awaiting those.”
The overseer tendered his resignation on July 7, 2023, but it was reportedly not accepted.
Not employedThis publication was able to track down two persons who are the persons on file as being the part-time workers, but they said they know nothing of their employment with the Port Mourant NDC.
David Babolall and Mahadeo Kowlessar both told this publication they are employed with the Rose Hall Town Municipality as part-time workers. Both of them said they have never worked with the Johns-Port Mourant NDC.
According to Kowlessar, he heard that he was on the Johns-Port Mourant NDC payroll and was summoned to the RDC in relation to that issue.
Speaking about their engagement with at the RDC, Babolall said they were questioned and then showed the evidence suggesting that they were employed at both the Johns-Port Mourant NDC and the Rose Hall Town Municipality as part-time workers.
“He call we around to come behind his desk and he showed us two papers; one is from Rose Hall and the other one is from Port Mourant. He said, look you’re all drawing money from two places. We tell him if he don’t believe he can call the Mayor and talk to him because we never work with Port Mourant NDC; we working with Rose Hall. I tell him I never sign for any money at Port Mourant,” Babolall said.
Kowlessar said the document from the Port Mourant NDC had both their names and a signature next to it but the signatures did not correspond with theirs.
Meanwhile, in explaining how the Port Mourant NDC might have been able to obtain personal information about the two men including their National Identification Card numbers, Babolall said he and Kowlessar are very good friends and had gone together to the Port Mourant NDC seeking part-time employment. He said they were asked to furnish personal information including their phone numbers and were told that they would be called as soon as the NDC is ready to have them employed.
“We never get no call and then the Mayor called me and asked me if I want to work and he carry me to the RDC office and so come me and my friend get work,” he said.
Back in February of this year, Region Six Chairman David Armogan had stated that the Local Government Ministry was investigating the alleged hiring of scores of workers under the Government’s 10-day – $40,000 per month initiative by an NDC overseer.
Subsequently more than 40 persons who had been hired at the Port Mourant NDC as Government part-time workers were sent home as it was found that they were not properly hired.
The NDC currently has 103 part-time workers attached to it. The Chairman said there were 48 persons who were employed by the overseer.
Meanwhile, the NDC was told at a recent meeting that their cash books have not been updated since 2017.
The NDC Chairman said the Council’s books have been audited several times but there has never been an auditor’s report presented to the NDC.
In March of this year, a lorry which was purchased by the John’s-Port Mourant NDC was purchased in the name of the acting overseer.
The vehicle that is being used for garbage collection was bought with the NDC’s 2022 $3M subvention from Central Government.
Meanwhile, the NDC is being taken to court for allegedly not paying $1.6 million to a contractor for the installation of lights. The NDC had received the funding for the project in its 2021 subvention.