Region 2 RDC to investigate sale of ‘unserviceable’ items

By Indrawattie Natram

The Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) Regional Democratic Council (RDC) will be launching an investigation into the sale of serviceable items that are being resold as unserviceable. The matter was discussed in detail at the recent statutory meeting in which Councillors – particularly from the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) – spoke out about the corruption and malpractices that are currently ongoing in relation to the sale of “useless” items from the regional administration.
The discussion arose after the Regional Vice Chairwoman Nandranie Coonjah told the RDC that two canter loads of material were removed from the compound without her knowledge. Coonjah said upon inquiring, she was presented with a letter which showed that the materials were being sold at a minimum cost of $4500. She went on to say that she was very surprised at such a discovery, as the materials are worth over $400,000.
According to her, the letter was signed by the Regional Executive Officer (REO) Rupert Hopkinson. Coonjah said on another instance,

Region Two Chairman Devanand Ramdatt and REO Rupert Hopkinson
Region Two Chairman Devanand Ramdatt and REO Rupert Hopkinson

rollers that were in good working condition were resold as unserviceable. She then questioned what measure was being used to prove that the items are indeed unserviceable.
Coonjah also alleged that the sale of the items is only to a particular group of persons.

Government Councillor Naithram, during the discussion also noted that several used tyres were resold at a cheap cost and upon inspection; the tyres could have been used for another six months.
Head of the RDC, Region Two Chairman Devanand Ramdatt, said the practices were illegal and the RDC will take appropriate action. He said once an application is made from the public for the purchase of the items, then the stock verifier needs to examine the items properly, as well as the quantum. Ramdatt said the present RDC will not condone any corruption or malpractices, and as such, will investigate the matter.
In response, the region’s REO Rupert Hopkinson said once the stock verifier says the items are unserviceable, he just signs off. He also said that he does not have the time to inspect everything that leaves the RDC compound, as he is busy with his own job and there are people paid in the system to do it. Hopkinson also said if the RDC needs to investigate corruption, then the Police should be called upon to lend their expertise as it relates to crime fighting investigations.
He further explained that the stock verifier would often recommend a price that the items should be resold at, and once that is confirmed, he just applies his signature.
At that point, Regional Chairman Ramdatt told the REO that he is the accounting officer for the region, and as such, he should be accountable. Ramdatt also asked Hopkinson to write the stock verifier requesting an explanation in relation to the low price attached to the materials that were sold and based on the response, the RDC will take corrective measures.
Ramdatt also told the REO that as the accounting officer for the region, his work should not only be limited to office and the field, but he should have adequate knowledge about everything he affixes his signature to.
The Regional Chairman also stated that the stock verifier has no authority to approve, adding that that responsibility lies with the REO. Therefore, the REO should be more responsible when signing for the sale of items from the Region Two administration.