The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has sent the file involving possible misappropriation of state funds (PetroCaribe) by Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) to the Attorney General and the Ministry of Public Security for advice. This update was given by Minister David Patterson as he held a press conference at his office Saturday August 8.
Patterson confirmed that the deputy CEO, Aerswar Deonarine, who is currently on administrative leave, had written a letter promising to repay money he had placed in a private account. He said the letter highlighted that “in his opinion, he did not feel that his actions were incorrect, however by public positions, he will repay the money.”
The money being referred to is $27.8 million which was transferred to Deonarine’s private account, allegedly, “in lieu of retroactive payments for salary increase.”Deonarine’s argument is that his salary was supposed to be on the same scale as that of GPL’s second DCEO (Operations & Projects), and even though he brought it to the company’s Board of Directors several times, it was not approved.
It was alleged that he colluded with Carvil Duncan President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FITUG) and Director on GPL’s Board to have the money paid. Duncan too transferred $948,000 to his private account stating that he was owed retroactive payment.
The Ministry said Duncan gave several excuses of where he got authorisation to pay himself the retroactive sums, but none of the excuses stuck.
Minister Patterson noted however that the Deputy CEO is on administrative leave and can travel if he chooses. Reports are that while he promised to repay the cash, he may have skipped town. The minister could not readily confirm this.
Patterson said that a forensic audit by Nigel Hinds’ Financial Services is currently ongoing, and while, “It is proving interesting…we will wait on the final report which I expect will be out shortly.”