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Monday 24 September 2018
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Tobago

George writes to Williams on missing Tourism $8.8 million

Attorney Martin George has written to acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams seeking information on accusations, statements and documents pertaining to allegations of misconduct against his client, Gwen Toppin, a management accountant with the Division of Tourism in relation to a reported wire transfer of $8.8 million.

The transfer was reportedly made to an reportedly unknown bank account as payment to Virgin Atlantic Airways for flight arrangements between the UK and Tobago.

In his letter sent on Friday to Williams, George wanted to know if his client was really a person of interest as regards any police investigation concerning the transfer of the funds.

“In such a case, we would be also requesting that you indicate to us in writing whether any charges are going to be laid against our client and if so, the nature and details of same and would

request at least 48 hours advance notification of same on behalf of our client.

“In such case, please also indicate the current status of the investigation by the officers of the Fraud Squad as it relates to our client in this entire situation. If, however, our client is not a person of interest in respect of any TTPS investigation concerning allegations of missing monies, then we wish to have your confirmed indication of same so she may seek to begin to restore and repair the damage, hurt, harm and trauma which she and her family and friends have endured these past few weeks as a result of these baseless and unfounded allegations.

“We note the urgent nature of the situation and the alarming and damning nature of the allegations levelled against our client and we are requesting a full written response from you within 14 days of the date hereof,” George said.

The letter was copied to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Tobago, ACP Garfield Moore and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary, Kelvin Charles.

Noting information on December 4 from Charles that the Fraud Squad was investigating the matter, George said since then Toppin has not been “been approached, or contacted or even requested by any member of the TTPS Fraud Squad to come in and give any further statement or to be further interviewed by them in relation to any such matter or allegation.”

THA Chief Administrator Raye Sandy told Newsday Tobago on Friday that two public officials at the Tourism Division have been suspended by the Public Service Commission, as of last Tuesday, in relation to the transfer of the money.

“The letter informed thet two that they should cease reporting for duty but additionally, the Public Services Commission has appointed an investigator to look into this matter,” Sandy said.

He said the Fraud Squad was also continuing its investigations. Charles has previously announced that two other employees, one on contract and another hired on a month-to-month basis, was had been suspended in relation to the missing $8.8 million.

George had written to the THA two Fridays ago seeking more time for Toppin to respond to allegations contained in a letter she received from the Assembly.

He said as of last Friday, has had received no response from the THA.

while there are also two public officers.

The contract employee as well as the month to month have been asked in the public’s interest to cease reporting for duty, while the two public officers was referred to the Public Service Commission for appropriate disciplinary action.

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