ST.KITTS: Constituency Empowerment Department Under Investigation over Possible Misappropriation of Millions in Public Funds under Former Administration
Scandals continue to plague the former Dr. Denzil Douglas led administration of St.Kitts-Nevis . On Friday Attorney-General Hon. Vincent Byron Jr. told the local media that the recently disbanded Department of Constituency Empowerment was under investigation over the disbursement and possible misappropriation of millions in Public Funds.
AG Byron told Sknvibes.com ““There were large sums of Government’s money, obviously placed in this particular department to use for political largesse where a domino competition in St. Paul’s for $55 000 and no domino was played, and fence being built in St. Peter’s for $250 000. It was used as cover to put public money, hard-earned public money, in the hands of people as a part of a political campaign. And it must be clear that if any of that happened, this Government will not stand for it, based on our promise that governance will be done properly.”
Over the last week staff at the department were either sent on leave or terminated some likely as a result of the ongoing investigations.
Documents that have been found during the investigations has allegedly shown that massive amounts of monies were paid for “ghost projects” which never happened.
Documents revealed for example that $18,000 was disbursed for the construction of a hardcourt in Keys Village. Keys has had a hardcourt since in the early 90’s constructed under the previous PAM Administration. They also disbursed $29,000 to the St.Pauls Football Club and $43,000 for a sewing project also in St.Pauls. $106, 000 was disbursed for a space adaptation project in Hermitage Cayon. There is nothing in Hermitage, Cayon which reflects such a project at such a massive amount of money. $50, 000 was disbursed for a Dance Training Project which no one seems to be clear on what the project was for and who conducted it. $200,000 was disbursed for the painting of a wall in St.Peters $200,000 was disbursed for a restaurant week. Interestingly the restaurant week took place just last week. However the Constrituency Empowerment department disbursed some $200,000 for a “Restaurant Week” in January.
In January alone almost $1million was disbursed by the department for various projects many of which seemed to be non-existent and with extremely bloated sums being disbursed to these projects through individuals who are known activists.
AG Byron commented further to sknvibes.com and said “Over the last two years, tens of millions of dollars were handed out willy-nilly to people to get votes. The last regime, totally irresponsible, and in some cases they went beyond being irresponsible. So those investigations will be done, and once I have the evidence, whatever it is, will be place before the appropriate authorities for direction.
We are taking our time, very diligently, and do it properly. It is not scare mongering, it is not to put anybody in a bad light, but if people have not behaved properly, if monies belonging to the public’s purse have been disbursed that should not have been disburse, those will be investigated. There’s going to be a change to how you do government.”
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