Minister within the Ministry of Finance
Dr Jennifer Webster and Minister of Finance
Dr Ashni Singh at the press conference
Additionally, all the beneficiaries who encashed the cheques were identified and many are assisting the police in the ongoing investigation. Some have been arrested including staff of the Accountant General’s department. Minister Singh disclosed that three persons have to date been charged including one member of staff.
Bulletins had been issued in the newspapers during the investigations, prompting the cooperation of many who voluntarily went in to the police. Minister Singh noted however, that not all those wanted for questioning turned themselves in. “It is our intention to interview all of them,” Minister Singh said noting that the police and the audit office were given the full support of the administration including in relation to the use of the fraudulently obtained funds to acquire personal assets.
He assured that the administration will spare no effort in ensuring that the perpetrators and their accomplices face the full extent of the applicable laws and that the strongest available penalties are brought to bear against them, including forfeiture of assets.
The scenario, according to Minister Singh, has allowed the administration to identify certain breaches in procedures that were committed in perpetrating the fraud and to correct them, ensure compliance and recruitment of staff.