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Mayor fuming: Who approved $2.6 million in contracts?

By Sandhya Santoo sandhya.santoo@trinidadexpress.com

NO APPROVAL was granted by the San Fernando City Corporation to spend $2.6 million in public funds spent on contracts for repair and reconstruction of the Skinner Park facility in San Fernandoin preparation for Carnival 2014.
The issue of the money spent without the approval of council members was brought up by the San Fernando City Mayor Kazim Hosein during a statutory meeting at City Hall, San Fernando on Tuesday.
Hosein said he had insisted that that no money be spent on constuction work at the park. He said: "I don't want money spent in Skinner Park and behind my back you all spent this money. We don't have the money but we spending 2.6 million dollars. Who paying this money?"
Hosein questioned City Engineer Ramesh Sookdeo on whose approval and authority the contracts were given and how much it costed. Alderman Kevin Ratiram also wanted anwsers. Ratiram directed his questions to Sookdeo asking: "who signed those contracts on behalf of the corporation and how did the revision (from a revised list sent by the engineering department) come about?"
Sookdeo said he did not know who signed the documents approving the contracts. Sookdeo also said that the documents in Mayor Hosein's possession were not accurate and that "an accurate one was prepared and forwarded to the chief executive officer (CEO). All the work was done under contract".
Hosein responded: Nobody said they don't have contracts, but who gave them the contracts without council approval? Who did that? Who has the authority? You definitely don't have it". Hosein said he had spoken with the city's CEO Indrajit Singh who told him that he (the CEO) did not give approval for the funds or the contracts.
Hosein said that contractors were now coming to his office "telling me I stopping the payment for these contracts which is not true. So you know what I am tell them? Whoever approve these contracts for you all, go to them for to pay you".
Hosein said he would not tolerate wrong doing at the Corporation and that "nobody can buy me". Hosein said he was not condoning corruption at any level within the council and warned members of administration. He said, "it is very easy for somebody to come and try to seduce you to get certain things done". He also claimed that there were certain individuals within the corporation who are "in control of people in here (from) outside there".
Hosein has asked for a report from the finance committee to be given at the next meeting to be held on Tuesday.
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