GL&SC sends several employees packing for corruption
– cases not turned over to Police; complainants didn’t want to pursue
In keeping with its internal policies, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) has so far sent several of its employees home for corruption-related reasons, including taking bribes to fast-track land transactions.
Several former employees of GL&SC are likely to spend Christmas without a job, having been booted from the agency for corruption. This was revealed by the Commission’s Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Benn during a press conference on Monday.
However, Human Resources Manager Shonda James-Williams explained that the Police were not called in, although such actions were criminal offences. James-Williams explained that this was because the Virtual Complainants (VCs) did not want to pursue the matter further.
“We had about three employees who were terminated for corruption. And in those cases, staff entered into agreements with clients, issued receipts and collected money in exchange for land. So, when those cases came to us as a Commission, we acted in relation to our policy.
“However, in those cases, they weren’t turned over to the Police, since the client didn’t want to pursue. As a Commission though, we took our action based on our policies. We also had another staff who was terminated for inflating bills, taking advances to do surveys. So, we had to terminate that staff, since it is dishonest and against our policy,” she revealed.
Explaining how the employees were caught, James-Williams noted that some were nabbed after audits were conducted. Others were nabbed when the clients’ suspicions were aroused after having paid their money and not receiving the land.
She noted that while some clients were reimbursed by the culprits, the GL&SC could not reimburse anyone since they did a private transaction outside of the Commission’s policies. Asked about the systems to prevent corruption from taking place, James-Williams pointed to the agency’s policies.
“We have our policies. We keep meetings. And we also issue memos and internal messages to staff. Corruption is something we can’t stop. But as soon as we find it, we deal with it. Some of them, the clients came in after time would have passed and the promise of land wasn’t coming through. Others, from audits. The one with the inflated bill, that was an audit,” the Human Resources Manager detailed.
The Commission has had to also deal with various cybersecurity threats, some of which Benn said has targeted his own computer. According to Benn, however, no sensitive information was stolen.