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PPP refuses to address contradictions against GECOM’s Chief Elections Officer- Rohee

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.”

  • Emile_Mervin

    Between the 2006 and 2011 General Elections, the PPP regime spent GY$17.7b on this agency, which includes GY$3.3b in 2014. Of the GY$3.3b, a total of GY$1.6b was set aside in event of snap elections.

    What we need to know is if the Ramotar government gave Gecom all the money in one lump sum and knew it would cover the acquisition of the radios.

    Additionally, did the PPP Commisioners look at the Gecom list of needs for the 2015 elections and saw the acquisition of radios with proposed costs per radio?

    The name or names of the persons whose signatures appear on purchase orders and sales invoices should be published and made to publicly account for the discrepancy in prices. And both the Gecom Chairman and Chief Election Officer need to explain whether they knew of the radios and why they were never used.

    It is so sad, unfortunately, that no matter what answers we get, the Coalition regime will not prosecute anyone or demand persons to refund the government. Does Jagdeo really have dirt on certain PNC officials, hence the Coalition’s reluctance…?

    • rs dasai

      It seems that you do not know how Gecom manages its finances. Ask the Boss and then comment. Stay cool .

      • Emile_Mervin

        Your obvious lack of knowledge explains the paucity in your blog. Look, since you know the Boss, then let him inform you so you can inform us instead of pretending to know anyone or anything. Let the Boss tell you who ordered the radios, who signed the checks for payment and who signed as receiver and storekeeper.

        My post showed the 2015 elections GY$1.6b money was set aside over one year before May 2015. The PPP was planning since early 2014 for snap elections. How can the PPP regime or its Gecom Commissioners not know, therefore, GY$100m was spent on iCom radios used to communicate on set frequencies?

        BTW, I did ask whether Surujbally or Lowenfield knew anything about the radios, so I defend no one!

        • rs dasai

          Unless Gecom’s big wigs say who did it, we can only wonder.
          But if S & L do not know, who is in charge? We are in bid trubble.

  • rs dasai

    An ongoing investigation. We stay quiet.