DHB Manager gifted himself $897,000 bracelet from public funds
The investigation into the operations of the Asphalt Plant, which is ran by the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) Corporation, has revealed the General Manager of the bridge company, Rawlston Adams, had spent in excess of $800,000 to purchase a bracelet for himself.
This was disclosed by Chartered Accountant Chateram Ramdihal during the handover of the report on Wednesday. Ramdihal had led a high-level team to conduct a probe into reports of an alleged racket at the Asphalt Plant and presented the report to Public Works Minister Juan Edghill.
“The Asphalt Plant, along with the Demerara Harbour Bridge, purchased in November 2019, a bracelet for the General Manager at the approval of the General Manager to the value of eight hundred and ninety-seven thousand Guyana Dollars (G$897,000) as a gift for International Men’s Day,” the report detailed.
It further noted that gifts were also given to all other men within the Corporation, to an approximate value of $10,000 each, to mark the occasion of International Men’s Day.
However, the investigators pointed out in the report that the DHB Board of Directors, at a meeting held in August 2016, had made a policy that gifts, donations and staff incentives must be approved by the Board. But in this instance, the General Manager approved the purchase of the bracelet himself.
According to Ramdihal, “Normally, approval for those limits should have been done by the Board and if there is no Board at the time, the expectation is that it is escalated to the subject minister at the time.”
Meanwhile, the report further detailed that in addition to not obtaining the relevant approval for the purchase, the lack of an independent approval system can deem such a purchase to be a “misuse of the Plant funds for personal gain”.
In response to the investigators’ findings, the DHB management said: “Gifts were given to all men within the organisation. This is the standard practice in the organisation.”
Copies of the bills and receipts were also provided.
Nevertheless, the investigators recommended that management should ensure that the policies of the Plant are adhered to at all times. A recommendation was also made for management to ensure that gifts to employees are done in accordance with generally-accepted principles and at arm’s length.
Efforts by Guyana Times to contact Adams for a comment on the findings of the report were futile. (G8)