$13.5M goes to 56 persons every month, but no evidence of work at Ministry of Communities
The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development says it has discovered some 56 persons who are on the payroll receiving about $13.5M overall per month since 2015 but there is no evidence or record of their work.
Minister Nigel Dharamlall revealed at a press briefing on Monday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre that ministerial advisors of the former APNU+AFC government are among these persons. Dharamlall further explained that since the new government was sworn in last week, these persons have not showed up to work.
“We found that in the Minister Secretariat in the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, there was 23 staff who were earning as much in total of $7.3M per month…those staff happen to be elements which we believe were part of the political machinery at that time of the government,” Dharamlall said.
According to Dharamlall, records at the Ministry did not show the work of these persons over the last five years.
“We have been unable to verify and to validate the performance of these staff because there is no record of their work, documentation of their work, and since we took office there has been no presence.”
Dharamlall believes they are not turning up for work because they are political activists of the APNU+AFC coalition.
In revealing some of these persons Dharamlall said Oscar Clarke is listed as a Special Ministerial Advisor and earns $418, 674 per month along with a non-taxable duty allowance of $25,000 per month and telephone allowance of $15,000 per month.
“Since we have taken office we have not seen him and the reports we have received is that this individual turned up to work three half days per week earning almost when you add it up, close to half million per month.”
It was further revealed that Rupert Hopkinson also listed as a special ministerial advisor earns $376, 807 per month, $70,000 in non-taxable and a telephone allowance of $10,000.
Another advisor to the former Minister, Ronald Bulkan, is Carmichael Thorne who earns $488,250 per month and includes $30,000 non-taxable allowances and $20,000 in travelling allowance.
“These are individuals whose contract were renewed even after the no-confidence motion was passed and renewed for a substantial period so their contracts are also effect but the fact that they have not yet turned up to work it means that they are in terrible breach of their contract,” Dharamlall explained.
Added to the list are 36 persons who are employed in the Ministry’s department –Community Development Councils.
Former APNU+AFC Member of Parliament Barbara Pilgrim is also on the payroll and receives $210, 982 per month with $10,000 non-taxable allowance and a telephone allowance of 10,000 per month.
Ganesh Mahipaul is also on the list earning the salary as a community development officer for the Regional Democratic Council in Region Three $210,982 per month and a non-taxable allowance of $10,000.
Other names listed are Carol Nurse, Manbodh Rahaman, Simpson Dasilva and Latchmin Azeez.
“From the names I have perused these are all political operatives of the APNU+AFC, they are apparently stationed in the regions and when I spoke to the REOs they themselves were not supervising these individuals,” Dharamlall said.
Dharamlall said this issue is being dealt with by a case by case manner and that everyone will be held accountable for all expenses done without due process.
He further highlighted that the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development is opened to hiring all Guyanese despite their political persuasion as long as they are competent and can carry out the task at hand professionally and respectfully.