Posted: Monday, February 15, 2021. 9:41 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dean Barrow, has begun giving testimony to the Commission of Inquiry into the sale of Government assets at the House of Culture, Belize City.
Concerning the sale of Government assets with which the Commissioners are dealing, Barrow said his was the final approval for the sale of written-off assets, which originated with the manager of the vehicle care unit, Ruperto Vicente, whether it was by recommendation or for final approval.
Barrow noted in what he said was a “lighthearted” remark that Government Departments were all too willing to write off vehicles in particular to get replacements.
95 percent, said Barrow, of such vehicles were sold this way, and often, “…We were selling for the best price we could receive in the circumstances.” The other 5 percent resulted from public officers retiring from service who applied to Financial Secretary Joseph Waight to buy serviceable vehicles they had been assigned. Barrow said he insisted on a valuation made by the Customs and Excise Department as the starting price, though occasionally Waight chose to sell it for more.
At the time of General Elections, Barrow added, there was “an accelerated pace” of requests from outgoing Ministers to buy vehicles, such as in 2008 when he first took office; he noted that no one made much noise about it.
The testimony continues.
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