Charges likely for seven City Hall employees in $1M embezzlement

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Criminal charges are likely to be laid against seven employees attached to the Treasurer’s Department at the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC).

The employees – two Tax Collection Officer/Supervisors; two Cashiers and three Clerks who were dismissed with immediate effect on Tuesday last- are accused of misappropriating almost $1 million in revenues and salaries from the Council.

The unanimous decision was made by the Local Government Commission following a statutory meeting on October 26. It was publicly announced on Tuesday November 9 in a statement.

Though the statement by the Commission did not offer specifics of the allegation, its Chairman Julius Faerber told the News Room that the seven officers “utilised cash that were collected as rates and taxes for Georgetown.”

Chair of the Local Government Commissioner, Julius Faerber (Photo: Stabroek News)

“We have asked the City Constabulary to take the matter to the police,” Faerber stated.

An investigation was launched by the Georgetown Constabulary after the discovery of the financial irregularities within the City Treasurer’s Department and the seven employees were sent on administrative leave.

The probe found evidence that the seven officials directly participated in “fraudulent activities” and breached their fiduciary duties. In total, the seven officials misappropriated almost $600,000 in rates and taxes.

While the initial investigations were focused on the irregularities in the revenue collection, the LGC Chair explained that officials found irregularities in the payment of salaries.

“Those were monies they had collected and they said when they balanced their payroll, it was excess and so they did not put it into the records as was supposed to have been done,” he explained further.

Those monies amounted to almost $300,000.

The LGC Chair explained too that such an occurrence will not be tolerated as systems are set in place to prevent such.

He stated that the records were supposed to be reviewed by the City Treasurer, John Douglas, but that did not happen for a prolonged period.

“The system was not checked by the City Treasurer…it was checked by the supervisors alone and they were part of the entire scenario,” Faerber pointed out.

As a result, the Commission took a decision to revert Douglas to his substantive position of Accounting Manager and appointed Edwana Miller, his deputy to perform the acting duties of City Treasurer.

According to Faerber, the Commission has requested that a system be implemented where “every line Manager” is mandated to review records.

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