by Zena Henry
The City Constabulary has recommended sanctions against former Town Clerk (ag) Carol Sooba over the “illegal” waiver of $27M for a popular businessman.
The office of the Town Clerk has also recommended that the matter be handed over to the police for the appropriate action to be taken for the former city CEO’s alleged financial misappropriation.
Town Clerk Royston King told Demerara Waves Thursday July 16 that the Constabulary has completed its investigation into the GUY$27M waiver and the Mayor was presented with the report Thursday morning. While King declined to provide details, he said that document would be presented to Council at its next Statutory meeting for deliberations.
Demerara Waves understands, however, that the Constabulary recommended that sanctions be taken against Sooba, “because procedures were breached in the waiver of the $27M.”
This money, it was noted, could have been utilized by the cash-strapped Municpality, but the Council was deprived of those funds.
It was noted that Council has the last say on whether the report would be sent to the police while the recommendations of the Town Clerk’s office and the City Constabulary would be taken into consideration.
Sooba and former Local Government Minister Norman Whitaker came under harsh criticism when it was alleged by the Council that the former minister secretly instructed Sooba to waive the money for well known businessman Ganga Prasad of Ganga Prasad and Sons, for his Wellington and Charlotte Streets property that once housed Strand Cinema. Allegations were that the businessman wanted to sell the property for a hefty sum but had to clear off the taxes owed to the Council.
The money was then waived without the knowledge or consent of the Council which is the procedure to be followed. Whitaker in his defence said he simply wrote a no-objection letter to former Town Clerk for the waiver. He claimed he never gave instructions and could not be held responsible.
Outside of this, the businessman who has other properties and businesses did not qualify for the exemption which makes the matter even more glaring, Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green had stated when she brought the matter to the ‘s attention last year.
In the meantime another report on Sooba’s alleged unauthorized use of Council’s money to buy a chair suite, sofa and other assets unknown to the Council, would also be completed in a matter of days. The report would also look at sums used by the former Town Clerk in her personal capacity to pay for legal fees.
Sooba ,who was the Council’s legal officer, was elevated to the Town Clerk post with much opposition. She was described as a political appointee who functioned without the consent of the Council. She was then sent on vacation leave and fired as Town Clerk.
She never returned to her original post as legal officer and it is suspected that she would have lost that job too.