Sooba followed city council procedures to pay lawyer, Whittaker says

Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker has said that government’s Town Clerk appointee Carol Sooba did not improperly use city funds to hire a lawyer, contending that established City Council procedures were followed.

This was revealed on Tuesday but Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green maintains that Council’s procedures were not adhered to.

In a letter to Mayor Hamilton Green from acting Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud, the acting commissioner had said that the matter was investigated and legal advice was obtained. “The Director of Public Prosecutions indicated that there seems to be conflicting views as to how the money was spent, and advised that these issues be resolved within the council,” the letter said.

Norman Whittaker
Norman Whittaker

However, a report from the Assistant Commissioner Law Enforcement seen by this newspaper on Tuesday said, “Assistant Superintendent S. Reid obtained a letter to the Auditor General signed by Mr. Norman Whittaker, the Honourable Minister of Local Government and Regional Development informing him that he had a discussion on the issue with the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs who advised that the payment to the Attorney-at-Law was done following established accounting procedure at the Mayor and City Council.”

But Chase-Green said the procedure outlined that anything above $2,000 goes to the Finance Committee, which will then make a recommendation, which the council will approve. “The council has a policy where the two members to sign that voucher will the Chairman of the committee and the Vice Chairman,” she added.

Auditor General Deodat Sharma had confirmed in March that he was conducting an investigation of the allegation that Sooba improperly used monies from the city to hire a lawyer to look after her interests

The probe was based on a complaint by Chase-Green, who said that the money was to pay for legal fees to attorney Roysdale Forde for “professional services rendered in relation with the matter of Application by Royston King Action #103-M.”

King had moved to court against the Local Government Minister’s decision to select Sooba as Town Clerk although she did not meet the advertised criteria for the post. In the letter, Chase-Green said that at no time was Sooba ever named as a party in the court proceedings launched by King. The action was also never filed against the council, but rather against the Minister of Local Government, she said.

Chase-Green had also stated in the letter that the payment voucher to the tune of $500,000 was prepared and “purportedly signed by an officer of the council and a councillor.

She contended that this constitutes a misappropriation of the council’s funds for several reasons, including the fact that the council did not authorise the transaction and that the named attorney was not one used by the council. She also said that the decision to engage Forde was never discussed at the council’s finance committee and did not follow the standard procedure established by the council to engage lawyers.

More in Local News


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning:

Most Read This Week

  1. Ramesh Manbodh

    Man beaten with bat passes away

  2. Bibi Shareema (left) and her mother Bibi Shameela in
happier times

    Greenwich Park woman died 44 days after brutally stabbed by ex-partner

  3. Bharrat Jagdeo

    Meeting of Cabinet at GDF HQ pilloried by Jagdeo

  4. Fast food lovers inside KFC yesterday

    KFC back in business

  5. The building housing the home and grocery

    Bandits invade Alness businessman’s house, shots fired

  6. Alimudeen Gobin’s demolished house

    Violent storm lashes No. 19 Village

  7. The ganja found in Prashad Nagar (Police photo)

    Police find 52 lbs of ganja in Prashad Nagar house

  8. The AK 47 and ammo found (Police photo)

    AK 47, ammo found behind wardrobe

  9. tensions

    Player tensions with WICB reaching breaking point: Sir Viv

Recommended For You