Georgetown, Guyana (GINA) — Aerswar Deonarine, deputy chief executive officer (DCEO Administration) of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Company, and Carvil Duncan, president of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FITUG) and a director on GPL’s board, are now said to be under investigation, as an ongoing forensic audit at GPL has unearthed the unauthorised transfer of $28.748 million (US$138,700) into their personal bank accounts.
According to minister of public infrastructure David Patterson, the money was taken from the PetroCaribe fund, confirming what the current administration has always maintained, that is money has been siphoned off from the PetroCaribe fund, thereby leaving it in a state of bankruptcy.
Patterson, who briefed the media at a post-Cabinet press on Wednesday, explained that the findings were made known to him via the auditing company.
According to the minister, $27.8 million went to Deonarine’s account and $948,000 to that of Duncan. He explained that Deonarine, in collusion with Duncan, in June 2015, transferred the $27.8 million to Deonarine’s account in lieu of retroactive payments for salary increase that was never approved. The argument made by Deonarine is that his salary was supposed to be on the same scale as that of GPL’s second DCEO (Operations & Projects).
The minister said that at no time did the board of directors consent to this arrangement, even though Deonarine made several approaches to them. It was also revealed that neither the previous prime minister Sam Hinds nor the previous head of state Donald Ramotar assented to this transfer, leaving Duncan as the possible culpable partner.
Currently, as the audit goes forward, Deonarine has been sent on administrative leave, pending further and full investigations, after which Cabinet will be apprised.
Duncan’s issue relates to the money he also allegedly gave approval for. This too has to do with retroactive payments, dating back to some 48 months, during which time he was paid $5,000 monthly as a board member, but had repeatedly insisted on an increase to $20,000.
Patterson added that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force is now actively probing the matter.