The T&T Police Service’s Anti-Corruption Investigation Bureau (ACIB) is now investigating allegations of corruption at the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation.
The reports were made yesterday by employees Eddison Rambaran and Keshrie Kissoon.
It is alleged that the corporation signed off on infrastructural projects done by various contractors although the projects were incomplete. A 35-page document allegedly corroborating the claims was handed over to the Anti Corruption officers.
Rambaran, who held the position of a checker at the corporation for the past two years, said he decided to take the matter to the police because his concerns on the matter were not being addressed. In addition, he claimed he and his family are being victimised and harassed because he spoke out about the alleged corruption. He said in February, correspondence was sent to the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government about the wrongdoing but nothing was done.
Rambaran told the police that four contractors were contracted to undertake infrastructural projects in the constituency in November 2019. He was among a team from the corporation who visited the sites and observed several inconsistencies. He claimed at one of the sites at Lyng Trace, Lazary Road, Rio Claro, the contractor was awarded a $279,000 contract to build retaining walls, kerb walls and slippage drains. He said the project was incomplete and contrary to the scope of works. However, Rambaran claimed the corporation allegedly still signed off on a scope of works and completion certificate for the contractor although the project was incomplete.
Rambaran said in November he attended a meeting with corporation officials regarding this issue and subsequent to that a detailed report was submitted to the ministry’s permanent secretary.
Kissoon, who has been employed at the corporation as a driver for the past seven years , alleged misappropriation of funds at the corporation. He claimed that a new position, facility maintenance assistant, was created in 2017 to transport a high-ranking official back and forth from his home to the corporation. The position carries a wage of $250 per day.
Kissoon provided the Anti-Corruption officers with a copy of the payslip for the month of April, when the country was on partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Based on the payslip, a copy of which was obtained by Guardian Media, the facility maintenance assistant was paid $6,000 and worked a total of 24 days inclusive of the Easter weekend. Kissoon also provided the police with a copy of the attendance register.
When Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation CEO Ashmead Mohammed was contacted on the matter yesterday, he said he was aware of the allegations. However, he said the matter is now in the hands of his attorney.