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Cabinet: Investigation of alleged “firesale” of Government assets to be conducted jointly with Public Service Union

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Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020. 8:41 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Cabinet has agreed to meet with the Public Service Union (PSU) regarding the investigation into the “fire sale” of Government’s assets by the previous administration after it wrote a letter requesting an investigation of same. It plans to set up a joint committee to further investigate the matter.

The PSU charges that protocol was violated by the little-known office of Asset Management, headed by former football president Ruperto Vicente. Vehicles were sold for as little as $200 and computers and other assets were sold off to alleged cronies and associates of the former administration under the noses of the various accounting arms of government. 

The PSU in a statement said it tried and failed to get from Vicente and Financial Secretary Joseph Waight 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, says the PSU.

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 were aware of what the PSU calls “abuses of government assets”. Some of these assets such as vehicles, the PSU says, were subsequently being used for election duties 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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