Last Updated on Monday, 26 September 2016, 13:34 by Denis Chabrol
Although Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield has implicated the past People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration in the procurement of multi-million dollar worth of items, the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) on Monday shied away from addressing the issue.
“If Mr. Lowenfield is looking for what I would describe as a ‘get out jail card’ let him await the outcome of the audit,” PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee told a news conference. “I would prefer to stay clear of that and leave it in the hands of the auditors and let the auditors present their reports so we could pronounce more authoritatively,” he said.
He reiterated his party’s stance that Lowenfield’s contract should not be renewed, but rejected suggestions that the PPP has concocted the allegations against the chief accounting officer of the country’s electoral management authority.
Rohee denied that the PPP has deliberately fabricated the allegations of impropriety against the Chief Elections Officer. “Our party, the PPP, is not in the business of concocting stories so forget about that,” the General Secretary said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News. He said even if the PPP concocted a story, the media would eventually discover it was a fabrication.
Lowenfield has said that GECOM has little or nothing to do with the procurement of items valued more than GYD$249,000 as those have been done through the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), Ministry of Finance Cabinet and the then Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon.
At the time of the purchase of more than GYD$100 million worth of High Frequency (HF) radio communication sets from Mobile Authority in 2015 before the general elections, Lowenfield said GECOM had been a budget agency which meant that financial scrutiny had been the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.
The PPP General Secretary said his party concluded that there was a lack of transparency at GECOM when it heard its commissioners- Bibi Shadick, Robeson Benn and Sase Gunraj- said that they were not party to any of the discussions on those matters. “We give the benefit of the doubt to our commissioners. We believe what our commissioners say,” he said.
Rohee said when the PPP was in office, GECOM’s transactions included a Cabinet paper going to that decision-making body. “In this case, don’t ask me if this one was done like that, I can’t say.”