An employee of the Inland Revenue Division has been granted $1.5 million bail after being charged with a series of fraud offences for allegedly misappropriating $1.49 million in tax revenue.
Lystra Irving was granted station bail by a Justice of the Peace after being slapped with the charges by Fraud Squad officers on Thursday evening.
Guardian Media understands that police began investigating Irving in early February after senior auditors in the division reported several alleged discrepancies in the accounting entries made by Irving.
Irving, who has been employed in the public service for 20 years, was serving as accounting assistant in the Cashier’s Unit of the division between March, last year, and February, this year.
Her supervisory duties at the time included making record entries and daily physical deposits to the Central Bank. A team of investigators led by Inspector Cornelius Samuel collected documents from the division’s headquarters at the Government Campus Plaza in Port-of-Spain and from the Central Bank and conducted a comprehensive forensic audit.
The investigation reportedly revealed that the tax revenue, which should have been deposited in the Central Bank, was unaccounted for.
After receiving advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), police charged Irving with misbehaviour in public office involving the falsification of government records and misappropriation of the funds.
Irving also received several charges under the Proceeds of Crime Act for money laundering.
Irving was ordered to appear in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court on January 11. —Derek Achong