Labour Minister Errol McLeod yesterday confirmed that the former CEO and a former programme manager were suspended, then fired for questionable procurement practices associated with the construction of the IBIS outlet and the NEDCO office.
Some $1.2 million had been allocated for these offices, currently located at Boopsingh Trace, Penal.
Speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, McLeod said following the establishment of the offices at Penal, the board of directors had reason to investigate “all that went on with the establishment of these offices”.
He said on March 21, 2014, the board of directors met after he raised particular questions.
McLeod said the basis of these questions arose out of the audit report on the procurement and construction of the IBIS (National Integrated Business Incubator System) outlet and the NEDCO office, which had been present on February 26, 2014.
He said $1.2 million had been allocated for these two offices.
McLeod said it was evident from the report that there were suggestions of wrongdoing on the part of the officials.
The minister said the board (at the March 21 meeting) suspended both men, with full pay, with “immediate effect” following the outcome of the investigations.
The board also decided to put chief operating officer, Julian Henry, to act as CEO.
McLeod said on the conclusion of the investigations, the CEO “agreed with the board” that his contract of employment would be terminated on April 30 and that he should receive one month’s pay in lieu of notice and accumulation vacation benefits, minus statutory deductions.
“We (the Government) are satisfied that the board acted as promptly as expected of a board conscious of its role and obligations.
This decision closes a chapter in the going forward of NEDCO,” McLeod said.
The IBIS provides training and other services to fledging businesses.