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Former PS takes Gov’t to Court over unlawful dismissal

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Former Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Health, Leslie Cadogan has filed legal proceedings against the government on the grounds that he was “wrongfully and/or illegally dismissed.”

In court documents seen by the News Room, Cadogan is seeking damages in excess of $18M for unlawful dismissal and $18M for breach of contract. According to the documents, Cadogan was contracted by the former People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration on November 7, 2014, to perform the duties and functions of Permanent Secretary effective from the 12th day of December 2014, to the 11th day of December 2017.

He was entitled to a monthly salary of $566,428 along with the following allowances:

Duty Allowance – $5,500.00 per month (tax-free)

Entertainment Allowance – $5,500.00 per month (tax-free)

Housing Allowance – $3,500.00 per month (tax-free)

Cellular service – payment of unlimited cellular telephone service and internet service at official place of residence

Provision of Residential Telephone Service:

Category ‘A’ (i.e. the Government will pay for rental as well for all local and official international calls); provision of 24 hrs security at official place of residence; the payment of full electricity cost at the official place of residence; the person engaged shall be entitled to a car and a driver both provided by the Government of Guyana or the grant of a duty free concession to acquire a motor vehicle to use in the execution of his official duties.

THE DISMISSAL

However, on August 31, 2015, some three months after the APNU+AFC assumed office, Cadogan received a letter from Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, who informed him that he was relieved of his duties as PS, effective September 1, 2015 because he failed to ensure that there was proper accountability in the delivery of drugs to the Ministry of Health.

According to the dismissal letter from Harmon, this failure was demonstrated in the incomplete delivery of supplies to the tune of $419,110,786 in one instance.

“In the other instance, you failed to ensure that the remaining 50% of $1.1b delivery of supplies was done. It is therefore in view of this gross negligence and misconduct in the performance of your duties that your services have been terminated. You are therefore required to handover to Mr Trevor Thomas, Permanent Secretary (ag.) Ministry of Public Health all equipment and items i.e. Laptop Computer, Celluar Phones and Tablet which were issued to you in your capacity as Permanent Secretary, by September 1st 2015,” the dismissal letter noted.

But according to the court documents, Cadogan claimed that it was never his duty to ensure the delivery of drugs to the Ministry of Health but rather it was the function of the Procurement Manager of the Ministry of Health.

He also claimed that at no time was he afforded a hearing or a fair hearing before the termination of his employment and the government omitted to give him adequate notice of his dismissal.

As such, Cadogan stated that he has suffered over $15.8M as salary for 28 months from September, 2015 to December, 2017; $154,000 as duty allowance for the same period; $154,000 as entertainment allowance; $98,000 as a housing allowance; $1,132,856 as a vacation allowance for the period of the years 2016 and 2017; and $764,676 as gratuity for the period from December, 2014 to December, 2017.

He is being represented by Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall.

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