Chairman of the Enmore/Hope Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Mark Mahase is distancing himself from the council’s reported failure to account for part of the profit from a fundraising barbecue, while maintaining that all funds were handed over to the overseer, who has since resigned.
“Now, what we find strange is that my name is being called concerning money. All the times the overseer controls everything and he has to give a proper report for the transaction of the money,” Mahase told Stabroek News in wake of a recent report by the Region Four administration that a recent investigation had found that money was missing after the NDC reported a loss following the fundraiser.
A press statement from the RDC two Thursdays ago said Assistant Regional Executive Officer (AREO) Ramnarine Singh told a Regional Accounting Committee (RAC) meeting at Triumph that “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 Mahase and Vice-Chairman Mohammed Dawud.
Mahase told Stabroek News on Tuesday that the NDC decided on hosting a barbecue sale since the councillors feared that it would have run out of funds by the end of the year. “The overseer, who is the accounts officer, [was] supposed to be the person that’s coordinating the activity but he never showed up on the day of the event,” Mahase said. As a result, he explained that two councillors collected money at the event and afterward the funds were given to Dawud for keeping since he was living in very close proximity to the venue.
“We leave all of the money that was collected from the sales and that money was with the Vice-Chair. What really transpired from then is that we met days after the barbecue, comprising of the two councillors who were collecting the money and two more councillors along with me and the overseer and we did a balance sheet,” Mahase explained.
He said that after they did the balance sheet, it showed that they made a profit of $279,000.
“We never used any funds from the council and I volunteered my money because you nah want council’s fund to get entangled with the barbecue. I can’t remember exactly how much I used but all that information is with the overseer and he is the accounting officer in any case,” Mahase said.
He added that while the money was with Dawud, he had instructed the overseer to collect it but Dawud had reportedly refused to hand over the money.
“In the capacity of the Chairman I went and I collected some of the money and Dawud started to give the money in pieces and it sounds confusing but the overseer was having an account for all the money that was collected. He is the one that knows exactly what he did with the money,” Mahase said, while explaining that he saw documents that stated that all of the money was returned, except for the sum that was used on the night of the event.
He pointed out that after the event ended, there was an altercation and one of the councillors suffered an injury and had to be taken to a hospital by Dawud. He said Dawud used about $18,000 from the money that was given to him from the barbecue’s sales to cover transportation and medical bills that were incurred on the councillor’s behalf.
“Since two weeks ago, I asked him [overseer] to do a meeting and bring the balance sheet and let’s deal with the matter before it escalates further and he refusing all the time to have a meeting concerning it because he has the balance sheet and everything concerning the money,” Mahase explained.
He pointed out that since last Wednesday, they have been unable to access any of the documents since the overseer tendered his resignation and has not been seen since.
“…And up to now the office door closed. All the documents and everything in the room,” he said, while adding that a report was made to the police but the man is yet to be found.
“The region telling me I want to do the overseer job but I never touch the money. The overseer has the balance sheet so let him produce it. I didn’t touch a cent for the money and at no time me nah partake in any money. I lend to the council and the overseer knows every single thing and that is why he should come. It’s simple, straight forward economics,” Mahase added, while emphasising that based on the records that were seen by him, all of the money that was collected by Vice-Chairman was returned to the council.
“Based on the overseer’s report at meetings… he [Dawud] had owed $64,000 in February and I saw a document that he said he had to pay for the girl expense for travelling, doctor bill, x-ray, which come out to some $18,000 and he would’ve excluded that from the $64,000 and give the overseer. That is the reason why I asked he to convene a special meeting and bring the books and account and thrash it out at the council level and he never turned up. He has the balance sheets,” Mahase added, before noting that a statutory meeting was to be convened to discuss the matter further.