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Former Public Health Ministry Permanent Secretary sues for wrongful dismissal; says owed almost GYD$18 million

Leslie Cadogan

Former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Leslie Cadogan, who was fired with immediate effect allegedly because of  lack of accountability of almost GYD$470 million dollars worth of drugs, is suing the State for wrongful dismissal and says he is owed GYD$18 million in salary and allowances.

In court papers seen by Demerara Waves Online News, he denied Minister of State, Joseph Harmon’s in the letter of dismissal dated August 31, 2015 and effective September 1, 2017 that he was responsible for the delivery of drugs. Harmon’s letter, which was tendered as evidence,  states that “Your failure to ensure that there was proper accountability in the delivery of drugs to the Ministry of Health was demonstrated in the incomplete delivery of supplies to the tune of $419,110,786 in one instance. In the other instance, you failed to ensure that the remaining 50% of $1.1b delivery of supplies was done.”

It is therefore in view of this gross negligence and misconduct in the performance of your duties that your services have been terminated,” Harmon stated in the dismissal letter in keeping with Clause 7(a) of the contract of employment with the Guyana government.

That clause states that “The person engaged at any time during the currency of his Agreement neglects or refuses to comply with any order for any cause (other than ill health not caused by his own misconduct as provided in Clause 4) become unable to perform any of his duties or shall disclose any information respecting the affairs of the Government to any unauthorized person, or in any manner misconduct himself, the Government may terminate his engagement forthwith and therefore all rights and advantages reserved to him under this Agreement shall cease.”

In seeking his  benefits, Cadogan intends to show the court that “it was never his duty to ensure the delivery of drugs to the Ministry of Health but rather it was the function of the Procurement Manager of the Ministry of Health.”

He is represented by Attorney-at-Law, Anil Nandlall.

The former Permanent Secretary says in court documents that at no time was the Claimant afforded a hearing or a fair hearing before the termination of his employment, and that the defendant failed and/or omitted to give adequate notice to him before his purported dismissal.

He says, as a result of his dismissal, the State of Guyana owes him GYD$15,859,984 as salary for 28 months from September, 2015 to December, 2017; GYD$154,000 as duty allowance for GYD$154,000) as entertainment allowance GYD$98,000) as a housing allowance all also for the same period. He says the State also owes him GYD$1,132,856) as a vacation allowance for 2016 and 2017, and  GYD$764,676) as gratuity for the period from December, 2014 to December, 2017;

Cadogan says to date, despite his  demands for payment, the Minister of State has has failed and/or omitted to pay same.

From the 12th December, 2014 to August 31, 2015, Cadogan had been paid a salary of GYD$566,428.00 per month; duty allowance and entertainment allowance  of GYD$5,500.00 per month (tax free);  and housing allowance – $3,500.00 per month (tax free). He was also entitled to the payment of unlimited cellular telephone service and internet service at official place of residence, residential telephone service rental and all local and international calls, 24 hours  security at official place of residence, and the payment of full electricity cost at the official place of residence.

Cadogan was also entitled to a car and a driver both provided by the Government of Guyana or a duty free concession to acquire a motor vehicle to use in the execution of his official duties.