(Trinidad Express) Finance and Economy Minister Larry Howai has fired the chairman of National Quarries (NQ), Mitra Ramkhelawan.
In response to an e-mail query from the Sunday Express yesterday, Howai, who copied his response to Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine, stated: “I can confirm that Mr Ramkhelawan is no longer chairman of the board.”
Ramnarine, who is out of the country, simply said: “Acknowledged”.
Howai’s actions follows a series of calls for Ramkhelawan to be removed, including from Communication Workers Union (CWU), the lobby group Fixin T&T and from 60 of the company’s 70 permanent employees, following allegations of corruption during his tenure at the State company which have been reported exclusively in the Express.
The Sunday Express was told that Ramkhelawan was fired by letter on Friday.
His dismissal follows from a meeting, along with the rest of the board, with Howai on Wednesday and the conclusion of an audit conducted on the State company by the Central Audit Committee of the Ministry of Finance.
The Sunday Express understands the audit will be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
It is the second time Howai has taken action on allegations levelled at members of State boards.
On May 17, he fired the entire Caribbean Airlines (CAL) board, without the approval of Cabinet, on corporate governance issues.
However, dismissed CAL chairman Rabindra Moonan was appointed as chairman of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) one month later and director Avedanand Persad was appointed to the board of the Estate Management and Business Development Company Ltd (EMBD).
Yesterday, Howai declined to give reasons why Ramkhelawan was fired, except for the affirmation that he was no longer chair at NQ.