A resident of the city, who had entered into a contract to purchase a property, paid to an agent of the Council sums amounting to in excess of $3.5 million and $220,000 in two parts, based on a demand notice in order to facilitate issuance of compliance.
She was issued with manual receipts, which is normally given instead of a computerized printout when there are power outages. Payments are subsequently entered into the computerized system.
The transaction fell through and an injunction halted the sale so one of the parties was instructed to reimburse the monies paid by the proposed purchaser to the City Council.
She was required to provide her receipt as the Council’s computerized records were only showing a payment of $220,000, and apparently only the original of the receipt for the larger sum was made, with no copies to reflect in the records.
When she produced her original receipt, within the course of a day someone had entered into the computerized system the full sum of $3.5 million.
This was clearly an instance of a multi-million dollar fraud, which sent the Burrowes Commission digging for additional evidence of more instances of fraudulent transactions.
They found that original receipts were missing from receipt books left easily accessible, with the copy pages left intact.
An unnamed source says that, from all indications, entire books could have gone missing, with the originals used to issue receipts. For how long a duration, and to what scale these fraudulent activities have been perpetrated, to the detriment of the functionality of the municipality, is open to anyone’s conjecture.