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Govt takes back control of Public Service Coop Credit Union; multimillion dollar queries surface

Government’s interim management committee on Wednesday took back control of the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union, after the High Court threw out previous orders.

The original management committee, which has come under wide-ranging scrutiny for the way it has been running the affairs of the financial institution, had secured an  interim order to remove the government-appointed interim management committee.

The Chief Coooperatives Development, Perlina Gifth, however, got those orders discharged by High Court Judge, Gino Persaud, saying full disclosure was not made by the original management committee in its applications to the court.

“The said Trevor James Benn (not Lands and Surveys Commissioner) had no authority to file an application since he did not show in his pleadings to this Honourable Court that he was duly authorised by at least one third of the members of the Guyana Public Service Cooperative Credit Union Limited,” she states in her grounds.

In the application for the order, it is stated that “there has been an abuse of the High Court as Counsel on record for the said Trevor Benn filed an application in respect of the same subject-matter for essentially the same reliefs in two different courts albeit under different jurisdictions.”

The Court was told that the injunctions previously granted on June 19, 2018 to the original management committee “would place the Credit Union itself in severe financial peril and the members of the Credit Union would suffer hardship if funds are dissipated and records to trace transmissions are lost”.

The Chief Coooperatives Development Officer states in her affidavit that Benn was not authorised to swear to the affidavit on behalf of the Credit Union as he ceased to function as Secretary/Manager from May 25, 2018 in keeping with a letter that was delivered to him according to the regulations.

Gifth plans to show the court that the Committee of Management, which includes Benn,  was not performing in the best interest of the credit union to which Benn was the signatory to all correspondences and the Committee of Management had become incapable of managing and/or wilfully neglecting to conduct the affairs in a proper manner.

Gifth says there were breaches and non-compliance by the Committee of Management which provides that the accounts of the Credit Union should be audited at least once annually.

She further alleges that there had been no auditing of accou by and no financial statements since 2010 and those audited have not been approved since 2010.

Gifth said she authorised George Vaughn to conduct a 100 percent audit of the Credit union’s books because it was observed that over a number of years GY$32 million were withdrawn for travelling expenses but there were no accompanying vouchers.

Also observed, according to the Chief Cooperatives Development Officer, was that a member had received GY$1 million to act as a negotiator: members of the Committee of Management were also staff members and collected two salaries and stipends; gigantic salaries were being collected by the Manager and Accountant since they received the 22 percent gratuity on their salaries each month, and US$26,000 were discovered in a drawer in the GPSCCU office which is in breach of the financial rules. Gifth added that the discovery was documented and videotaped by police from the Brickdam Police Station.

The Chief Cooperatives Development Officer said since May 25, 2018 it was observed that the weekly transactions of the union  amounted to approximately 400 cheque transactions.