Wed | Aug 21, 2019

Probe ordered into gov't contracts awarded to alleged gang leaders in T&T

Published:Friday | July 19, 2019 | 8:51 AM
Kaz­im Ho­sein - Contributed photo

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC- Minister of Rural Development and Local Government says an expansive audit will be conducted into the mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar contracts giv­en to sev­en re­put­ed gang lead­ers at two government-con­trolled cor­po­ra­tions.

In a media release, Kaz­im Ho­sein sig­nalled his in­ten­tion to have the mat­ter prop­erly in­ves­ti­gat­ed.

His de­ci­sion came just hours af­ter the Trinidad Guardian newspaper pub­lished a re­port which high­light­ed the de­tails of a con­fi­den­tial Spe­cial Branch re­port which named sev­en re­put­ed gang lead­ers who ben­e­fit­ted from mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar state con­tracts from the Diego Mar­tin Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion and the Port-of-Spain Cor­po­ra­tion.

The in­for­ma­tion con­tained in a con­fi­den­tial re­port pre­pared in mid-May forms part of a Guardian Me­dia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, just one-week af­ter Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er, Gary Grif­fith, blamed the State for plac­ing funds in the hands of gang lead­ers.

Grif­fith warned that the prac­tice had fu­elled gang wars and con­tributed to an up­surge in homi­cides over the last 15 years.

Ho­sein said he viewed the “al­le­ga­tions very se­ri­ous­ly and in­tends to ad­dress them as a mat­ter of ur­gency.”

He said the au­di­tors from his min­istry are sched­uled “to com­mence an in­ves­ti­ga­tion as a mat­ter of ur­gency, at all cor­po­ra­tions” and “CEOs have al­ready been con­tact­ed to pro­vide sup­port and co­op­er­a­tion to our in­ter­nal au­dit unit.” 

Ho­sein says once the audit is completed he ex­pect­s a re­port to be sub­mit­ted to his of­fice by the end of Au­gust.

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