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Public Service Union: Investigate pre-election disposal of government assets

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Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020. 2:39 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Public Service Union (PSU) is claiming that it was “everything must go” for the former administration, with a sell-off of Government vehicles and other assets below market value to now-former Ministers and political cronies.

Now it wants an investigation into the actions of Financial Secretary Joseph Waight and the designated Assets and Utilities Manager, Ruperto Vicente, signed off on by both the Accountant General and Auditor General.

This happened even as the PSU, Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU), and the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM) were collectively collaborating with the Government of Belize on ways to realize cost savings and enhance revenues.

The PSU in a statement says it tried and failed to get from Waight and Vicente a detailed listing of all Government vehicles purchased and disposed of over the last eight years, and more specifically, the individuals, departments, and costs associated with the purchases and disposals of the list of vehicles.

As of September 25, Vicente acknowledged the correspondence, but as of November 2, there was no response.

Now, it is alleged that the Ministry of Finance, through Vicente’s office, facilitated sales of vehicles for as little as $200, and the sale of many other Government assets, including costly office furniture and high-priced electronic equipment, for a pittance to former Ministers in the months leading up to the general elections.

Both the Accountant General and the Auditor General are listed as copied in on the approval letters, suggesting that their offices have approved what the PSU calls “abuses of government assets” – some of which assets, they say, were seen subsequently used for election duties even as private vehicles rather than Government ones.

The PSU is calling on the new administration to demand Vicente follow through on the list of assets including vehicles and investigate the alleged fire sale.

 

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