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Worker accused of $16m EPoS fraud

Published: 
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A forensic audit at the East Port-of-Spain Company Limited (EPoS) has unearthed a scheme of unauthorised cheque payments to the value of approximately $16 million to a company affiliated with an EPoS employee over the period 2014 to 2017.

A report was made to the Fraud Squad, who launched a criminal investigation, but EPoS says it will also pursue civil action to recover the monies that were misappropriated, Minister of Housing and Urban Development Randall Mitchell, under whose ambit EPoS falls, said in a release yesterday.

The forensic probe initiated in November was prompted by financial discrepancies which were discovered in October. EPoS management brought it to the attention of the board, who in turn raised it with Mitchell.

Mitchell assured that there would be “zero impunity for those with questions to answer where the misappropriation, fraud or mismanagement of public funds is concerned.” He said his ministry remains firmly committed to the principles of good governance and will continue to pursue the speedy recovery of public monies intended primarily for the improvement of the quality of life for those communities in East Port-of-Spain.

Efforts to contact former Housing Minister and Port-of-Spain East MP Marlene McDonald, who has been pushing for development plans for the community, were unsuccessful.

EPoS was incorporated as a limited liability company on September 15, 2005, became operational in April 2006 and receives funding from the Infrastructure Development Fund. The company’s strategic focus is on comprehensive and integrated planning and development, with a mandate to develop and re-develop areas of East Port-of-Spain through economic, social and physical regeneration. From 2006-2007, the company was aligned to the Ministry of Planning and Development, but from 2007-2012 it fell under the remit of the Ministry of Local Government before returning to Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development from 2012-2015. From September 2015, EPoS was placed under the purview of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.