A little over a week after the commencement of investigations into the operations at the Department of Solid Waste, the minister with responsibility for the department, Molywn Joseph, is saying that there are now more findings of fraud, but this time it is to be found at the Central Board of Health (CBH).
The Environment Minister said that this past Monday a senior official at CBH brought to his attention a practice of over-inflated overtime hours submissions that, he alleged, began many years ago by the then Chief Health Inspector.
“The then Chief Health Inspector made the decision to pay overtime without work in order to increase their weekly wage,” alleged Joseph.
Joseph detailed that the workers in question were paid for 10 hours of work every week for which no reciprocal work for those hours had been documented.
“You come you work, you do your regular hours and without doing any overtime, you get 10 hours overtime on a weekly basis,” Joseph explained.
The minister outlined that this practice was as a part of “many bad practices”, the extent of which, “boggles the mind”.
Another instance of alleged fraud that was brought to his attention was that of a contract which amounted to $1 million.
“We had to wrestle with a bill for one individual of making over $1 million for services with excavators,” Joseph said.
The excavator contractor, Joseph said, submitted bills over the period of one year to total to that amount for services rendered.
“When I brought a halt to that, I was ridiculed in the public as micromanaging,” he added.
While the minister did not outline the precise measures being taken to stop the malpractices as he outlined, he did indicate that “corrective measures” were currently being put into place.
OBSERVER media reached out to former Chief Health Inspector, Lionel Michael, for comment on the matter. Michael said that he has no formal response to the minister’s allegations at this time other than to say that he is in consultation with his attorneys to determine their next course of action.