– arrest warrants issued for Trinidadian co-conspirators
The plethora of forensic audits that had been ordered by Head of State, President David Granger, has claimed its first victim, Nizam Hassan.
Hassan, who was the former General Manager of the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC), was yesterday slapped with fraud-related charges when he appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
Hassan, who currently holds the portfolio of General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), and a female co-accused, Felicia De’Souza-Madramootoo, 34, were on Monday charged in what has been described as a multi-million-dollar fraud.
The woman’s husband Hanniel Madramootoo, a project engineer within the Agriculture Ministry, his brother Philip and friend Nizam Ramkisson – both Directors of Constantine Engineering and Construction Limited of Trinidad and Tobago – were also jointly charged.
Only Hassan and the female co-conspirator appeared in court and arrest warrants have since been issued for the others who are said to currently be in Trinidad and Tobago
Hassan and De’Souza-Madramootoo were charged with intent to defraud together with three others by continuously approving payments for substandard and faulty works during the rehabilitation of the Guyana Marketing Corporation building at Robb and Alexander Streets, Georgetown.
Hassan and his co-accused were not required to plead to the indictable charge but were released on $250,000 bail each, and have been ordered to report at the headquarters of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) every Friday.
The matter has been adjourned until December 7.
During the course of the audit into the operations of New GMC it was found that based on the selection of three vouchers related to the construction of the GMC’s office building for testing, it was observed that incorrect building materials were used.
Additional auditing procedures were deemed necessary and a request was made to have all payment vouchers made available for further testing.
The Auditors said it was communicated by Owen Nestor, GMC’s accountant, that none of the other payment vouchers related to the construction of the GMC’s office building could be found.
It was also communicated by Nestor that Hassan may have been the last person who had requested all of the payment vouchers of the construction. The Auditors had recommended that a determination needs to be made as to what level of disciplinary actions should be taken and that the board of directors should instruct GMC’s management to make every effort to locate the missing vouchers.
The auditor, in reporting on his findings to the Ministry of Finance, had complained that the process was “deliberately frustrated by the non-response and non-commitment extended by Mr Nizam Hassan, GMC’s General Manager and the lack of commitment by GMC’s Accounting department’s staff.”
It was found that many vouchers and back-ups were not provided, either on a timely basis or not at all: “My conclusion is that the accounting practice at GMC shows that the General Manager and the Accountant did not provide any meaningful fiduciary responsibility when any payment originated from the Minister of Agriculture or the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture.”
“In other words, GMC’s General Manager and the Accountant acted more like rubber stamps when payments dealt with transactions originating from the Ministry of Agriculture,” the Auditor declared. (Guyana Times)