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Monday 11 December 2017
News

Charles: due process for four under probe in $8M transfer

Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles wants to protect the feelings of four persons who are under investigation by the Fraud Squad for the fraudulent transfer $8 million, intended for Virgin Atlantic Airways for airlift arrangements, into an unknown bank account.

Charles also said he would continue to be professional in his carrying out his responsibilities and uphold the constitution as investigations continue into the actions of the four employees at the Division of Tourism.

Speaking at Tuesday’s launch of a Construction Certification Training Programme at the conference room of the Division of Education in Scarborough, he said:

“Because I have been charged with a particular type of responsibility… I have to ensure that I carry out that responsibility because I took an oath that said among other things, that I must uphold the constitution and the law and that I must operate without fear, favour and ill will and do right to all of mankind.

“I must never be weighed in the balance and found guilty for being less than prudent, less than professional, recognising as I must that the

persons involved I am sure, are pained at this moment, and I should do nothing to exacerbate the situation,” he said.

Charles also said, “Tobago is a very small place and eventually, everyone will know their (person sunder probe) identity.”

“I happened to be listening to a couple talk shows and persons are calling for additional information. They want to know who the four are, and they want to know more of the process. We must ensure that at all times, whatever we do there is due process. As far as I am concerned, I am not prepared to say who those persons are,” he said.

On Monday, Charles, through a press release, revealed that four employees from the Tourism Division were facing disciplinary action, two of whom have been sent home, while the other two continue to report for work, as Fraud Squad detectives investigate the matter.

Of the four persons involved, two are public officers, one was employed on contract and the other on a month to month basis. The latter two have been stopped from working, immediate effect, while the public officers, have been referred to the Public Service Commission.

Last Tuesday, Minority representative for Palatuvier/ L’Anse Fourmi/ Speyside, Farley Augustine, at a press conference at James Park, said a senior Tobago House of Assembly (THA) transport official, gave instructions for monies meant for Virgin Atlantic, to be wired to

another bank account in the UK. He said the money was subsequently withdrawn and the account closed, and that the Tourism Division subsequently learnt that the airline never collected payment for the airlift agreements.

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