'Reprimanding' of two Inland Revenue employees raises concerns
Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
TWO EMPLOYEES of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) who held keys to a storeroom where 1,500 motor vehicle registration certificates and other valuable items went missing in 2009 received a slap on the wrist by the agency.
Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday expressed disappointment when they were told the two workers had been "reprimanded" in a letter from management for not reporting that the documents had been missing.
The committee was informed that the police had confiscated three of the missing certificates and brought it to the attention of the IRD.
A senior executive at the IRD said the workers knew that the documents had been missing, but were "trying to keep it quiet".
Acting commissioner of the IRD Rosalee Brown said the officers were carrying out internal checks to determine how the registration certificates disappeared.
"I am flabbergasted," said committee member Andrew Gallimore. His colleague and chairman of the committee Dr Omar Davies said the action made a "mockery of accountability", while Ronald Thwaites called it a "miscarriage".
Brown said her "hands were tied", as a disciplinary committee had recommended that the two workers be issued a "written reprimand".
She said having carried out that instruction, the IRD could not take further action after subsequent recommendations were made for the employees to be interdicted.
The Public Accountability Inspectorate in the Ministry of Finance had recommended that the two workers be sanctioned.
Deputy commissioner of the IRD, Padan Manning, had suggested that there was negligence on the part of both officers.
In an internal memorandum dispatched to the acting commissioner of IRD in July 2009, Manning submitted that disciplinary action should be taken against the entire staff where the culpable person(s) could not be isolated and identified.
The committee asked that a case study be done on the missing documents by the Auditor General's Department.