Six weeks on…Sherod Duncan still ‘on leave’ from Chronicle

-unclear if spending probe has started

Sherod Duncan

An investigation into allegations that General Manager Sherod Duncan mismanaged funds from the Guyana National Newspapers Limited (GNNL) and engaged in excessive spending has apparently not begun six weeks after Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo ordered that it be conducted.

Stabroek News understand that though Nagamootoo directed on September 11 that both Duncan and Financial Controller Moshamie Ramotar be sent on Administrative Leave pending the outcome of investigations, Ramotar has returned to work while Duncan has received no communication from the GNNL board.

In an invited comment Duncan told Stabroek News that he has written the Board several letters seeking an update on the status of his employment but has received no response. In fact though administrative leave is generally paid leave he was not receiving pay until two days after a media report on the issue.

“Two days after that article appeared I received an email from the acting General Manager indicating I would be paid that afternoon which I was,” he explained.

Since then he has received no communication from the Board or the Prime Minister’s office.

Meanwhile, Ramotar whose letter indicated that “she should proceed on 14 days of administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation” into whether she leaked confidential information to the press has returned to work.

Duncan had dismissed Ramotar after leaked financial documentation of his spending was reported by online news site Demerara Waves. This dismissal was revoked at the direction of Nagamootoo and an investigation launched into the issue.

There is no indication that this investigation has begun either.

Stabroek News attempted to contact Chairperson of the Board of Directors Geeta Chandan-Edmond but was unable to reach her.

Based on records seen by Stabroek News, in June the company paid $189,995 for a laptop for Duncan and $100,000 in July for one Apple IPad. Other expenses allegedly include $160,000 to one “Jeffers” for work on the Chronicle’s Facebook Page and GY$190,000 to IntellectStorm for work on its website and Front Page. In August, another GY$400,000 was paid to IntellectStorm as well as $54,000 to “Jeffers.”

The company also purchased a drone in July for $140,000 and paid $92,000 for two backdrops—one in July and another in August. A retractable banner, valued at $55,000, was also purchased in August, as was a truss and tablet floor stand for $271,806.

The Social Media Coordinator was provided a computer valued at $260,000 and $75,000 was spent on a drone case.

Several other expenses detailed included various payments for gas and repairs to the car assigned to Duncan and more than $700,000 in travel expenses for a trip to Lethem and one to New York.

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