Gold Board employees admit to fraud – Chairman
Two employees who have been working at the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) for decades have admitted to swindling the entity of millions of dollars, the Chairman of the Board, Gabriel H.K Lall has confirmed.
News Room first reported that the accountant, Roseanna Ramnarine and a clerk, Deborah Forbes were sent home after the entity discovered that they manipulated the books and created fraudulent documents in order to scam the entity of millions.
Based on an internal investigation into the matter, the employees were executing the scheme since the beginning of the year. As a result of the News Room article on Thursday, the GGB Chairman called a press conference at his Brickdam Office where he noted that the implicated employees “have agreed with what was presented to them.”
Lall explained to News Room after the press conference that the entity’s internal probe produced evidence that is “damning”. When confronted with the evidence, Lall said the employees did not plead innocent.
“They said ‘this is we handwriting. This is our signature in violation of procedures’ and they have admitted to that…repeatedly so.”
The Chairman said the matter has not been handed over to the police but the likelihood is currently under discussion.
“That is part of the discussion that is going on at multiple levels; at the Gold Board in conjunction with senior people in the Ministry,” he stated. When asked to state how much money the fraud amounted to, Lall could not give a specific figure but noted that it was in the “millions of dollars.”
Acting General Manager of the Board, Eondrene Thompson also noted at the press conference that “every false document that we found, those two names were on and they were shown it and they admitted that it was their signature.”
She explained that the irregularity was found after an assay was in the name of a client that usually has a high percentage and the results came back a lower percentage than what was paid out.
“When that result came back, it came back lower than usual. It was contrary to their profile so we decided to investigate,” she explained.
Thompson emphasised however that client’s assays have not been compromised as the documents which were used to swindle the entity of the money were false.
“Probably the client’s name may have been used however it was not the client’s assay,” she stated.
The employees allegedly reduced payments to clients and paid themselves the differences. In other cases, clients’ entire assays were paid out without them being aware.
Meanwhile, when asked why the entity’s senior officers were not sent home as a result of the fraud case – as was done in the money laundering probe against gold dealer Saddiqi ‘Bobby’ Rasul – Lall explained that the latter matter involved the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
He noted too that in the case of the two employees, they have strong evidence to prove who are the culprits whereas the evidence is not so clear in the Rasul matter.