CEPEP blames accounting error for documents showing hefty payouts
The Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) Company Limited says the financial documents in the possession of a journalist at the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper exist because of an internal error.
This comes as CEPEP once again sought to deny reports that its Chief Executive Officer Keith Eddy and corporate secretary Nicole Gopaulsingh received increased salary payments to the tune of $227,900, four days after the August 10 election.
CEPEP was responding to a report published by the Guardian on Tuesday. The article titled “CEPEP probes $.22m payout to execs” was written by lead business editor Curtis Williams. It noted that the media house had copies of transactions and figures which represent major increases in salaries that were allegedly approved by the CEPEP board in 2019. Guardian first broke the story in its Sunday publication and came out with an update after CEPEP threatened to sue.
“Following the Sunday Guardian's front page headline entitled ‘CEPEP $$ Scandal’ and article entitled ‘Money flowing at CEPEP’, the very same Editor has continued to spread misinformation with the publication of another article entitled ‘CEPEP probes $0.22 million payout to execs’.
The Chairman of The CEPEP Company Limited, Ms Marilyn Michael states categorically that the CEO, Mr Keith Eddy and the Corporate Secretary, Mrs Nicole Gopaulsingh are NOT the beneficiaries of the monies quoted in the Guardian on-line and print articles.”
According to CEPEP, documents do exist corroborating the claims within the story. However, this was chalked up to an error.
“The Automated Clearing House (ACH) finance documents, so brazenly published on the front page of the Guardian newspaper, were generated based on an in-house accounting error which was recognized on August 19. 2020 and was rectified on 1st September, 2020 before the series of articles were published by the said media house.”
The CEPEP further called on the management of the Trinidad Guardian to practice responsible journalism by verifying the information it receives before attempting to malign the character of “upstanding citizens” and bring the company into disrepute.
“As stated previously, the CEO and Corporate Secretary will be proceeding with legal action against Guardian Media Limited and its Lead Business Editor.”
CEPEP is planning to sue for defamation of character, malicious falsehood, breach of confidentiality and misuse of images.