Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2015 Contents A5
Thursday, December 24, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
"Irregularities" at the state-run
Water and Sewerage Authority
(WASA) have triggered a board-
level call for a forensic audit into
the operations at the company.
Board chairman Bromley Thomas
issued a simple press statement
about the ongoing audit into
WASA. Thomas said that "in order
to properly discharge its fiduciary
obligations" the board decided to
order that forensic audit into the
In a telephone interview with the
T&T Guardian yesterday, Thomas
would not give much away.
"I want to protect the integrity
of the audit, so I would prefer not
to say anything about it at this time,"
The press statement indicated
that former chief executive officer,
Gerard Yorke, had been demoted
to act as a director, corporate serv-
ices, while four other senior level
staff who held acting positions
reverted to their previous substantive
posts. Dion Abdool has been put in
to act as interim CEO, but according
to WASA insiders, he has already
received a letter informing him that
another choice for temporary CEO
would be selected shortly.
Thomas did reveal though that
two WASA executives have been
sent on leave.
"The director of operations, Steve
Joseph, and the human resources
director Ken Mahabir have been
sent on leave," Thomas said.
Thomas statement seemed
designed to steer clear of the kind
of criticism levelled at the Housing
Development Corporation (HDC)
board, which sent its managing
director Jearlean John and several
others on administrative leave. One
of the things John challenged in a
legal letter two days ago was the
sequence of the actions which, in
her reading, showed a board that
had already made up its mind about
In the WASA action, Thomas
made clear that that leave was not
linked to the audit.
"It is not that they have been
sent on leave pending the outcome
of the audit, one is not tied to the
other," Thomas said.
The WASA board met for the
first time on Tuesday before taking
the decision to suspend members
of staff and call for an audit.
A markedly similar approach has
already been taken at four other
state organisations where the first
board meeting triggered suspensions
and demands for a financial review.
The same thing has happened at
the Education Facilities Company
Ltd (EFCL), National Gas Company
(NGC), HDC, and Urban Develop-
ment Corporation of T&T (Ude-
A policeman walks along Henry Street, Port-of-Spain, with a bag after he may
have stopped quickly to get in some last-minute shopping, or just pick it up for
someone, yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
JENSEN LA VENDE
The watchman for the bar-
beque joint where a police officer
and a university student were
shot and killed outside of ten days
ago appeared in court yesterday
charged with their murder.
Mark Christopher appeared
before Chief Magistrate Marcia
Ayers-Caesar around mid-morn-
ing, charged with murdering Con-
stable Russell Ramnarine and
Avery Keshwar. Christoper, 33, of
Pundit Street, El Socorro, is also
charged with possession of a gun
When the matter was called,
Christopher appeared calm as he
stood listening to the charges read
One of his three attorneys, Larry
Williams, asked only that the State
speed up the appointment of an
attorney to prosecute the matter.
After learning that the case had
been adjourned to January 20,
Christopher blew kisses to his rel-
atives seated in the public gallery.
Two men and a woman had
previously been arrested for the
crime but were released. Ramnar-
ine, 24, and Keshwar, 22, were shot
and killed early in the morning of
December 14 outside Halal bar-
beque shop, Aranguez, San Juan.
Ramnarine, in plainclothes, and
a uniformed officer of the St Joseph
Police Crime Patrol were following
up a report made by Avery of a
stolen cellphone and other items.
Ramnarine and the other officer
had accompanied Avery in an
unmarked vehicle to Aranguez to
meet a suspect to retrieve the stolen
items but both wound up being
shot and killed. The cellphone thief
managed to escape.
Ramnarine who started off his
career as a Special Reserve Police
officer about two years ago, was
absorbed into the Police Service
over a year ago.
Ramnarine, ironically, had an
involvement in another court matter.
He was the main witness in a case
involving 12 police officers, including
seniors, who are currently before
the courts charged with crimes.
Financial investigations at the EFCL
are now in police hands and despite sev-
eral attempts to get an update on that
investigation, the T&T Guardian has not
received a response from the T&T Police
The NGC suspended company pres-
ident Indar Maharaj after its first board
meeting. He was subsequently fired
weeks later. At HDC, the new board
awaits the outcome of a three-month
audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers. At
Udecott, new chairman Noel Garcia
brought in a new CEO, Margaret Chow,
bypassing senior Udecott staff.
CEO demoted, senior managers reassigned
Watchman charged with
murder of cop, student
Police are searching for a man who chopped his roommate to
death over a gyro early yesterday morning.
According to police reports Lovell Scott, a joiner, was found dead
in the bedroom of his home at Sirjoo Trace, Chase Village, around
1.30 am. Police reports are that Scott s roommate told another man
that Scott ate his gyro and he chopped him. The man called police
who found the 30-year-old dead. Scott s roommate fled the scene
and up to last night was still on the run. JLV
Chopped to death for
eating other man's gyro
SPECIFIC CONTRACTS PROBED
· Dion Abdool, general counsel and
corporate secretary will act as CEO
until further advised;
· Gerard Yorke, will act as director,
· Paula Maria Fortuné, head, Legal
Services, will act as general counsel
and corporate secretary;
· Raffie David, head, Tobago
Region, will act as director,
· Rachelle Wilkie, head, Financial
Planning and Management, will act as
· May Ann Diaz, head, Workforce
Planning and Organisation
Development, will act as director,
I am not concerned
Former WASA CEO, former
minister of water resources,
Opposition Chief Whip Ganga Singh,
yesterday said he was not concerned
about the audit.
In a telephone interview yesterday,
Singh described the removal of
senior executives as "vindictive."
"This is the approach after the first
board meeting? It seems that the
board has embarked on a series of
malicious and vindictive acts against
people, with no regard to careers and
reputation," Singh said.
Singh said his only concern was
how this action by the board would
increase the supply of water to
While Thomas did not want to say more on the audit, the T&T
Guardian has since learned its focus is the award of million-dollar
contracts to specific contractors. The financial investigations are
examining the award of contracts between 2010 and 2015 and the T&T
Guardian has learned that the accounting personnel have only just
gotten to the 2012 financial books.
The T&T Guardian understands that the names of two contractors,
favoured by the former People's Partnership government, have already
been red-flagged by the auditors. These two companies also featured
significantly in the investigations into EFCL, where a secret back room
that allegedly doctored and backdated contracts at EFCL was found to
This audit comes at a time of near crisis for WASA as the company is
prepping for a predicted drop in rainfall in the coming months and into
WASA shakes up senior management
Woman's remains found in Lopinot
Police are asking the relatives of any woman who may have
been missing recently to visit the Forensic Science Centre to
identify the skeletal remains found in Lopinot forest last Sunday.
According to police reports the bones were discovered by hunters
almost two weeks ago. Police said found near the remains were a
purple bra, a brown belt, a pair of tights, boots and female underwear.
A pair of gold earrings with a moon and five hearts also were found.
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