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Monday 24 September 2018
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Third wire transfer to wrong account reported at Tourism Division

A third wire transfer, this time amounting to US$6,500 money, from the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, has reportedly gone into yet another wrong bank account. On Monday, Newsday Tobago learnt that in July, a wire transfer destined for a Miami-based cruise ship consulting firm, was sent instead to a bank in the United Kingdom.

This latest news of follows a November revelation that $8.8 million destined for Virgin Atlantic Airways for payments for travel arrangements between UK/Tobago, had not been received by the company but was paid into an unknown bank account.

On Monday, THA Assemblyman for Palatuvier/ L’Anse Fourmi/ Speyside, who has first announced the transfer of

the $8.8 million into an unknown account, as well as $1.6 million, intended for agents in Miami for the current cruise ship season, and also transferred to an unknown account, at a press conference on November 28 at James Park, acknowledged that he was in possession of information about a third transfer of funds for US$6,500 to yet another unknown account.

Speaking during a post Executive Council media briefing on November 29, THA Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles had said a report on another transfer of funds from the Tourism Division to unknown bank accounts included another “incident,” but did not say how money was transferred or when this was done.

“After requesting additional information, what I can say to you is that in that report, there was reference to another incident; that incident has also been referred to the Fraud Squad for investigation,” Charles has said then.

After Augustine’s revelation on November 28, at which time he had also called for the Fraud Squad to be called in, Charles, in fact, called in the detectives who began investigations at the Tourism Division offices at Sangster’s Hill, Scarborough.

Reports are that detectives combed through documents as well as conducted interviews with various members of staff.

Charles subsequently announced that four members of staff were facing disciplinary actions- one employed on contract, another employed on a month-to-month basis, both of whom relieved of their duties, and two public officers who were referred to the Public Service Commission for appropriate disciplinary action. The two public officers have since been suspended.

Efforts to contact Charles, Chief Administrator Raye Sandy and Tourism Secretary Nadine Stewart-Phillips on Monday for comment were unsuccessful.

A Fraud Squad spokesman would only say investigations were ongoing and there was no information that he could divulge at this time.

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