Ministry of Presidency’s scholarship award to CH&PA official raises serious questions

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 January 2017, 22:09 by Denis Chabrol

The Ministry of the Presidency has granted a scholarship for a senior official of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) to study in Korea at a time when there is a probe into alleged payroll fraud, according to official documents.

Board members and the management team have been warned that the CH&PA and Guyana could face “unnecessary embarrassment” and so the employee should not proceed on the scholarship until the Finance Ministry and police complete their probe.  Alternatively, a call has been made for the employee to resign from CH&PA and serve another government agency on completion of studies.

The documents state that only the CH&PA’s management team knows about the scholarship and not that regulatory agency’s board, raising suspicions about the motive at a time when the Ministry of Finance’s auditors and police are about to be called in to begin a criminal probe.

The Board has been told that the scholarship beneficiary is among several CH&PA staff members who are integral.

The CH&PA official is due to leave for Korea on January 16, 2017 to pursue a Masters Degree in Public Management at the KDI School of Public Policy and Management and return eighteen months later at the end of June 2018.

The official has since asked the Management Team to approve study leave with pay in exchange for serving the CH&PA.

Concerns have been also raised at the level of the board about the scholarship awardee’s performance in a number of areas.

The claim is that the CH&PA official was awarded the scholarship by the Department of Public Service although the management team is aware of the employee’s performance.

Sources said the CH&PA management team erred in selecting the scholarship awardee and should even belatedly  asked to justify the selection with documentary support that has been forwarded to the Department of the Public Service.

Board members and the management team of CH&PA have been told that the Masters of Public Policy bear little or no relevance to the regulatory agency’s work.

The Guyana government recently came under fire  for the granting of fully-funded scholarships to Junior Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Nicolette Henry and Junior Minister of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson.