Greenidge pledges action over missing laptops

PAC Chairman Carl Greenidge says action will be taken against Office of the President (OP) Permanent Secretary Omar Shariff and the head of the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project if it is found that they failed to properly deal with the disappearance of 103 laptops from a warehouse in 2012.

During a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing on July 21st, the committee heard that eight persons were sent on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the matter. The laptops went missing from the project’s warehouse at 267 Forshaw Street, Queenstown. Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon had said that the computers disappeared over a three-month period.

Though the Guyana Police Force has not completed its investigations into the matter and a conclusion arrived at, three of the five employees have been brought back to work with the project while the remaining five had their contracts discontinued.

Government MP Bibi Shadick has expressed shock at such a development, and asked on what basis the three employees had been called back. Shariff though, could not provide an answer, and he promised to furnish the committee with the necessary information in a matter of weeks.

When Stabroek News checked with Greenidge yesterday, two weeks after the promise was made, he said Shariff has not yet provided the information. Greenidge yesterday highlighted how important it is for public agencies to follow protocol in dealing with losses sustained. He said it appears that the procedures were not adhered to in this case and said he has serious concerns.

He explained that protocols are put in place to ensure weaknesses in the system are identified and dealt with. OLPF, he said, would have been required to prepare a report which it should have sent to the Guyana Police Force and the office of the Finance Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. While Shariff indicated that information was sent to the police, Greenidge pointed out that no information was sent to the office of the Finance Secretary.

“This is now very, very disturbing and we need answers to these issues,” Greenidge told Stabroek News as he insisted that the committee will ensure that a satisfactory response is given. He said that as the committee meets before the parliamentary recess later this week, action will be taken to have the materials requested presented to the committee. If it is found that inadequate or improper actions were taken, the PAC can call on the National Assembly or the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to take action, Greenidge says. He said though, that it is unlikely that any such action will be taken before the National Assembly goes into recess next week.

Sources have informed this newspaper that the three staff who have been rehired are Sharon Greenman, Azariah Asim and Abdallah Hamilton. Asim is said to be functioning currently as a Deputy Project Manager, while Hamilton is reportedly a Warehouse Manager. There was no information as to where Greenman is now stationed.


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