RURAL Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein has chosen to remain mum on allegations of a $0.22 million scandal at the Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement programme (CEPEP).
Hosein, who is responsible for CEPEP overall, spoke to the Newsday but said he preferred not to make any public statements at present.
CEPEP chairman Marilyn Michael blamed an “in-house accounting error” for the mix-up in the additional salary payments to two senior employees. She said however, the mistake was recognised and rectified without any accounts being credited.
Newsday sought clarification on this error, and whether it affected the salaries of only the two people mentioned or others, and exactly what the sums – which were pulled back – represented. There was no response.
There has been a series of articles in a daily newspaper about a “CEPEP scandal” involving the payment of $0.22 million to the executives, four days after the August 10 general election.
The newspaper identified the recipients as CEO Keith Eddy and corporate secretary Nicole Gopaulsingh and the sum as representing salary increases and increments, a charge Michael denied.
The article said the increases had been approved by the CEPEP board since 2019.
In a release on September 6, Michael said, “The CEPEP Board of Directors approved salary increases in November of the year 2019 and is currently awaiting the approval of the HR committee and the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO). The CEO and the Corporate Secretary have not received any increase in salary.”
In another release on September 8, Michael said the information in the publications was misguided. She again denied Eddy and Gopaulsingh were the beneficiaries of any increased salary payments and said both intended to take legal action against the paper and the reporter.