The Fraud Squad of the T&T Police Service is investigating the disappearance of more than $300,000 from the Siparia Regional Corporation (SRC). This was confirmed by chairman Dinesh Sankersingh who said an administrative officer has been transferred.
Sankersingh said he is hoping criminal charges will be laid and the money returned.
“I have spoken to the CEO and the police are conducting an investigation. I should be interviewed later in the week together with the Leader of Opposite chair Mr Debisette. I want to advise the matter is being investigated and the money must be returned. I recommend that criminal investigations take place to bring to justice whoever misappropriated this money,” he said.
“I do not have a command of all information. The police called me and asked me if I can discuss it. I agreed but the police are yet to come. They said this week or next week.”
Councillor for Avocat/San Francique Doodnath Mayrhoo said based on information he had received a cheque was made out by the SRC and an employee went to the bank to cash the cheque.
“The bank became suspicious and realised that the cheque was tampered with and the figures on the cheque had been changed to a larger amount. They went to another bank and the cheque was cashed. There were some red flags raised and then it was picked up when the bank realised it was a fraudulent cheque,” Mayrhoo said.
Asked whether the bank had any supporting documents or signatures, Mayrhoo said: “Someone initialled the cheque and when the bank officials checked the signature they realised it was different.”
Mayrhoo said the situation is worrisome and embarrassing especially since the corporation is cash-strapped and cannot find enough money for the delivery of goods and services.
He said since the incident all transactions done by the SRC are being flagged by the bank and the teller always checks with the SRC Accounting Department for verification before cashing any cheque.
PNM councillor for La Brea Gerald Debisette said he wanted the police to speed up the investigations and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“When councillors get their stipend they go to the bank. An alderman went to the bank and he found it strange when the teller told him to hold on and wait because they went to check the bank records,” Debistette said.
The police confirmed that the matter is under investigation and documents have already been seized.