A senior public officer with the Inland Revenue Division (IRD) of the Ministry of Finance has been charged with multiple counts of falsifying government records and misappropriating $1.4 million of income-tax payments from the public.
On Thursday, police charged Lystra Irving after receiving advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Irving was an accounting assistant at the cashier’s unit of the division from March 2020-February 2021 and was responsible for supervising tax collection at the division, entering and confirming accounting entries and making daily physical deposits of tax revenue collected to the Central Bank.
The charges laid against her were misbehaviour in public office involving the falsification of government records and misappropriation of $1.49 million in cash belonging to the State.
She was also charged with multiple counts of money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Irving, who had 20 years in the public service, appeared before justice of the peace Abrahim Ali and was granted bail with a surety of $1.5 million.
She will appear at the Port of Spain magistrates’ court on January 11.
Police said, in late January, senior auditors detected several discrepancies in accounting entries and realised certain amounts of tax revenue could not be accounted for.
A report was made to the Fraud Squad in early February, and Insp Cornelius Samuel led a team of officers who seized hard-copy and electronic records from the IRD’s offices at Government Plaza, Port of Spain, and Central Bank.
A forensic audit was done which discovered a large quantity of collected tax revenue which should have been deposited with the Central Bank could not be accounted for.