A recent investigation by the Region Four Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has found that part of the profit from a fundraising barbecue hosted by the Enmore/Hope Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) cannot be accounted for.
The revelation was reportedly made by Assistant Regional Executive Officer (AREO) Ramnarine Singh during the Regional Accounting Committees (RAC) meeting at Triumph, where he also announced that action is expected to follow.
A press statement from the RDC last Thursday revealed that the investigation was launched by Region Four’s RDC Chairperson Genevieve Allen.
The statement said Singh told the meeting that the NDC had organised a fundraising exercise sometime last year and according to documents that were presented to the Region “despite recording some $1 million in sales from the [barbecue], the NDC reported that they made a loss.”
The NDC reportedly made $1,132,000 and had an expenditure of $852,000 and should’ve recorded a profit of $279,000. However, the statement said that there were claims of additional costs but no supporting bills were presented.
“A confrontation was held and even if you [were] to add in the additional amount that they claim that they spent that would leave us with $184,528 and the amount of monies paid over to the NDC in three parts was $91,800. So, there still is a difference of $92,728,” Singh was reported as saying.
Singh also noted that the NDC claimed that additional monies were used for the Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
“They are claiming in their report that monies were received by the Chairman for the Vice-Chairman and other things. This is unacceptable as the record shows that most of the councillors paid themselves to do a fundraiser. I can’t understand if you are doing a fundraiser why you would want to pay yourself,” Singh was quoted as saying.
The statement said Singh explained that it was also reported that a councillor had to use monies to visit the hospital and use taxis, among other things,” but when the councillor was questioned, the official was unaware of the claims.
Stabroek News made attempts to contact the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the NDC for a comment but these were unsuccessful.
The statement added that Allen expressed her dissatisfaction over the operations of the NDC and stated that when the idea for the fundraiser was brought to her attention, she thought “it was a brilliant idea geared at increasing the financial coffers of the Enmore Hope NDC.”
“I am very disappointed with this NDC. Many of you who were around this table last year would realise that the Enmore/Hope NDC is one of the few NDCs that has the lowest balance and therefore thought that it was a very good initiative by the NDC to host a barbecue fundraiser. The objective or purpose of the fundraiser, I am not sure if it was realised but in any such activity you have to give record of all of your expenditure and what you would have made as profits,” the statement quoted Allen as saying.
Allen was further reported as saying that the events were presenting a frightening pattern by the elected officials, who appear to be seeking to run the NDCs “as if it’s their own business” and who are “refusing to adhere to clearly established guidelines and regulations.”
Allen said that she has received several correspondences that show an attempt is being made to tarnish the image of the overseer “as many felt that he would have let ‘the cat out of the bag’ over how the monies were spent” by the NDC.
“I have been reading several pieces of documents whereby they are complaining about the performance of the overseer and among the correspondence there is one that said that the overseer is the one that caused the investigation. I am wondering, I am pondering whether I should ask the Auditor General to carry out a complete audit of that NDC as there are a lot of things there that seem amiss,” she added.
The statement said that Allen then urged the elected officials to recognise that the Overseer is the accounting officer and, therefore, he should allowed to perform his duties in a professional way.
She also said the report from the investigation would be forwarded to the Local Government Commission for it to take the requisite action.
Meanwhile, the overseer, Karran Singh, reportedly said that challenges continue to increase at the NDC and he is being viewed as someone who is blocking the councillors from making money. “There is a lot taking place there, however I trust that the powers would seriously look into addressing these problems,” the statement quoted Singh as saying.