By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – A Senior staffer at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) has been allegedly dismissed by the General Manager (ag) Nizam Hassan, as a financial audit continues into company’s records.
Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma told iNews of the dismissal and stated that he is at odds as to why the man would have been fired by Hassan.
“He was not given as reason as to why his services were terminated,” Sharma told iNews in a telephone interview.
The dismissal comes simultaneously with the discovery of a $100M loan to the Rice Producers Association (RPA) which was never repaid, although it was a three month loan taken in July 2014.
While, RPA General Secretary Dharamkumar Seeraj has offered an explanation for the RPA not being able to repay the loan, Sharma is not satisfied and insists there is something muddled about the entire situation.
“If indeed they needed this money to help out farmers why is it not recorded in the agreement…It is strange to me that you would borrow $100M and stipulate the payment terms and not adhere to those terms,” said Sharma.
The Junior Finance minister believes that had it not been for the audit, then the unpaid loan would not have been discovered.
“Nothing was written, he didn’t had to say it was for this story, he could have said it was for another story…If my people didn’t go in there what would have happened? The money would have been forgotten about?” Sharma questioned.
“GRDB should write RPA for them to indicate how the money was disbursed. At least we need to know who got the money. The money could have gone to a favoured few. I am going to be instructing the auditors to get this information,” the Minister added.
Seeraj had explained that a Co-op was formed to ship and store rice for farmers however; a lot of the rice in the facility was spoiled due to lack of proper storage which placed the farmers in a predicament.
Seeraj pointed out that “farmers were on the breadline” and the then PPP government responded with the loan to repay the farmers via the RPA.
Asked why the money has not been repaid as yet, the MP noted that the matter is currently the subject a Court case and it is expected that when the matter is finished, the monies would be repaid.