Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 23rd 2016 Contents A3
November 23 -29 2016
Big contracts for 'special' firm
Even as the Fraud Squad continues inves-
tigations into allegations of corruption at
the Tobago House of Assembly's Division
of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, new
allegations of funds being misappropriated
from the division under the noses of sen-
ior officials have surfaced.
There are now claims that the senior officer
who prompted the Fraud Squad probe is the
mastermind behind a scheme which alleg-
edly fleeced the THA out of close to $30
The official is alleged to have funnelled
THA contracts through a company set up
for them by another individual, who was
promised a cut of the spoils as time pro-
gressed and the plan engrained itself, a per-
son with information on the issue told Toba-
The DIPU official is an unsigned major
shareholder in the company, while the man
who set up the company basically functioned
as the active shareholder.
The man was convinced by the DIPU
official to leave their own company behind
and set up another in 2012. He was told he
would be fed million-dollar contracts and
all he needed to do was sign off on them.
Sure enough, the company secured major
DIPU contracts for projects such as the Shaw
Park Cultural Complex, Scarborough Health
Centre, Argyle Micro Enterprise Centre and
Goldsborough Sub Office.
"Each project cost the THA $205,000 per
month for a 24 months period regardless if
nothing was happening at the site. Those
bills were paid promptly by a senior DIPU
official," the source told Tobago Today.
The source said the company, although it
was mainly focused on construction, even
ended up providing services to the TRHA
during its run.
At some stage, however, the man realised
his part of the promised "cut" from the
corrupt partnership was not coming in.
Stories floating around in the public
domain also brought some minor hiccups,
but it seemed a recent Tobago Today expose
on corruption in the DIPU got officials jumpy
again and brought the Fraud Squad snoop-
It was Tobago Today's courageous report-
ing on that issue that prompted the source,
who did not want to be identified for fear
of victimisation, to bring more information
to the paper.
"He (Trinidadian) is still financially chal-
lenged as he is yet to get his cut of the
spoils after four years," the source said, add-
ing the man may now be weighing wheth-
er to spill the beans now that the Fraud
Squad seems to be actively pursuing the
case and seem to be making some headway.
Tobago Today was told that in the case
of the supply of material for a project at
Shaw Park, "only the tiles were bought and
the rest of the materials never saw the light
of day, yet the bills for all the materials were
promptly paid," as the DIPU official ensured
the money flowed by signing off on docu-
mentation for payments.
The source claimed, however, that because
the officer still needed more senior oversight
in instances the act was detected, but instead
of exposing it the more experienced DIPU
official advised their colleague how to get
around it. Ironically, the official who turned
the blind eye to the corruption was later
Although, law enforcement has an eye on
the division's operations, Tobago Today
understands the official is still operating in
the same fashion.
Noting that the THA election was around
the corner, the source said this too was the
reason they wanted the matter brought to
the fore, daring the THA hierarchy to clean
up the DIPU in following the mantra of
People's National Movement leader, Prime
Minister Dr Keith Rowley, to return the
country to good governance.
Melville: Claims rubbish
Initially contacted last week on the new
allegations, DIPU Secretary Gary Melville
said talk of $30 million missing from the
unit was "rubbish."
Since the new revelations, regarding how
the money was misappropriated from the
coffers of the THA all calls to his cell phone
have gone unanswered.
Also contacted on the allegations of cor-
ruption at DIPU, THA Chief Secretary Orville
London said he is "very clear that corruption
at any level must be dealt with expeditious-
l y ."He added: "I expect the relevant author-
ity to do what they have to do."
Asked who, in this situation is the relevant
authority, he pointed to each division's
administrator, saying "the administrator has
the ultimate authority to supervise all
He casted the spotlight on the media's
responsibility to report corruption.
"As a media house you have a responsi-
bility to give relevant information... so that
if the allegation comes to light it must move
from allegation to information."
Newly-elected People's National Move-
ment Tobago Council leader Kelvin Charles
also noted the media's role in shedding light
on matters in the community after investi-
gation. He too stressed the importance of
allegation versus information and asked
Tobago Today to forward documented evi-
dence to him.
Told that the ongoing investigations
showed perpetrators were careful not to leave
paper trials and instead links had to be made
between the owners, operators and workers
of the companies, Charles said he understood
"As a matter of principle I will have no
qualms in dealing with corruption. Once it
comes to my attention and there is reason
to believe it is true, I will deal with the
situation decisively," Charles told Tobago
DIPU OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF SIPHONING OFF $30M
Secretary of Tourism and
Transportation Tracy Davidson-
Celestine presents Thomas Cook
Airlines capt Simon Spence with a
painting, after he landed the airline's
maiden flight from Manchester,
England, at the ANR Robinson
International Airport on Sunday.
PHOTO COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF
INFORMATION, OFFICE OF THE CHIEF
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