CHAIRMAN of the Board of Governors of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), Curtis Manchoon, is enjoying more than his fair share of chairmanship perks.
In addition to claiming office space at UTT's Chaguanas campus in the vicinity of Munroe Road, the Sunday Express understands that he also has a security detail from UTT's security company, a PCK Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle and driver at his disposal and has made requests for items such as an iPad 3 and journals from the facility which he chairs.
The perks which he has acquired as chairman are more than he's entitled to.
An email request for the iPad 3 from UTT's IT department stated: "We need to order another (single) iPad for the chairman. I would like to suggest that you spec something online (high end of course with accessories) and forward it for review...Urgent!"
The Sunday Express understands that only last month, UTT's financial controller Fiona Lue Ping Wa had to sort out Manchoon's cellphone bill, which exceeded its $5,000 credit limit due to roaming costs after he returned from a trip to Canada to set up UTT's aviation programme.
He's even sent a "text" approval to hire a Woodbrook-based company to do the rebranding of UTT's John D facility in April.
An inter-department e-mail by VP Finance Vishwanath Maharajh on April 18 on the matter stated: "The chairman has given approval per text message which I will fwd as soon as I learn how to do so. The chairman has also authorised FV Holdings to start work."
UTT employees have complained to the Sunday Express that Manchoon's requests were excessive for a chairman of a State enterprise. They also pointed out that as the Caribbean licensee for FranklinCovey Inc, he's had access to UTT's facilities to facilitate his workshops.
But Manchoon isn't the only state chairman to acquire perks while being appointed to oversee governance of a State company. Shortly after being appointed as chair of Caribbean Airlines (CAL) Rabindra Moonan had a PCL Toyota Prado vehicle leased from Triple D Rental at $20,000 a month. He had reasoned to the Sunday Express that he lived in South and needed to commute to a number of meetings.
The State Enterprises Performance Monitoring Manual titled Improving the Corporate Governance Framework for State Enterprises published by the Ministry of Finance in July 2011 say that chairmen of state enterprises are entitled to only meeting fees and a travelling allowance. When it comes to electronics, only cell phones and laptops can be considered if it aids in the director's efficiency.
All chairmen are entitled to are fees which range from $7,500 to $10,000 a month and a maximum travelling allowance of $1,000 a month.
Despite numerous efforts to get a comment from Manchoon via text messages and phone calls, the Sunday Express was unsuccessful. On Friday, following a text request for an interview, the Sunday Express was contacted by UTT's communications officer Tricia Clarke who asked for a list of questions. Yesterday at 1.02 p.m., the Sunday Express sent another text but got no response.
The UTT is currently challenged following the exit of several international tutors and only last month, Rodney Jagai, the acting president of UTT and his brother, Dr Tennyson Jagai, exited the facility. Dr Fazal Ali, UTT's Provost, has assumed the acting president's position until a replacement is found.
The Sunday Express understands the UTT is also facing a number of lawsuits related to "unfair termination of contracts" from former lecturers at the university. Under the People's Partnership administration, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has initiated a forensic audit into the operations of the UTT.
In April, the UTT issued a statement distancing itself from media reports of irregularities within the institution and instead cast blame on the former administration of university. "The current board and management of UTT will not condone or tolerate any action which seeks to resurrect indiscreet actions of the last administration," it said.