Saturday 4 April, 2020

Gopeesingh calls for EFCL board to resign

Dr Tim Gopeesingh, Member of Parliament for Caroni East, is calling on the remaining members of the Board of Directors to immediately follow Chairman Arnold Piggott and resign from Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL).

Piggott stepped down from the board effective June 2.

In a letter dated May 27 to Education Minister Anthony Garcia and copied to Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and Corporation Sole Finance Minister Colm Imbert, Piggott said he was resigning due to family commitments requiring greater attention at home and abroad.

"Mr Piggott’s resignation has come in the wake of serious allegations of corruption, big rigging, abuse of office, squander and worker victimisation at the special purpose taxpayer-owned Company, which have been published with accompanying relevant documentary evidence in ongoing newspaper reports," said Gopeesingh in a statement.

"Details of these serious allegations include the fixing of million-dollar contracts to favour cronies of the PNM; disbarring certain previous contractors, re-opening closed tenders, misuse of funds, awarding a deal in excess of $50 million to a contractor who scored the lowest in the evaluation process and overall abuse of the public’s trust."

He said the Directors, therefore, have no moral authority to continue to cling onto public office in the face of these extensive and shocking revelations which, if substantiated by the audit that is currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Finance and Attorney General, point to misconduct, illegal activities and gross misbehaviour in public life.

"As such, to preserve the integrity of the aforementioned Government-commissioned investigations, as well as the ongoing viability of the EFCL, the directors must immediately step down or be summarily fired. This is the only course of action which would facilitate a free and transparent audit by the Ministry of Finance," Dr Gopeesingh said.

He called on the Attorney General and Minister of Finance to forward the findings of the audit to the Fraud Squad Division of the Police to ensure that an independent enquiry into the reports of sustained corrupt activities at the State Enterprise is undertaken.

"Education Minister Anthony Garcia and Junior Minister Dr. Lovell Francis, to whom the EFCL Board of Directors reports, must also be held responsible for the repeated acts of financial and administrative wrongdoing under their watch," the MP said.



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