Prime Minister and Minister of the People and Social Development Kamla Persad-Bissessar last week instructed Permanent Secretary Simeon Yearwood to terminate the services of Andrew Boodoo, manager of the Inter Agency Unit (IAU).
His termination is with immediate effect. He received his letter last week despite an ongoing investigation.
Sources told the Express the decision was taken following allegations of corruption within the IAU.
When contacted and asked to comment, Yearwood confirmed Boodoo’s dismissal, saying: “He was terminated and that’s all I will say at this time.”
Asked about the reason for his dismissal, Yearwood said: “I have no comment at this time.”
The Express tried to contact Boodoo but all efforts were unsuccessful.
The IAU is a pilot project under the Social Development Ministry and is responsible for the “voluntary and involuntary removal” of street dwellers (vagrants) from various parts of Trinidad and Tobago.
The unit consists of representatives from the Ministry’s Social Displacement Unit; mental health officers; municipal police; the ministries of National Security and Legal Affairs; city corporations; NGOs and private organisations.
Sources say allegations of wrongdoing arose following investigations that “recycling” of homeless persons was taking place.
Sources within the Unit explained that on each occasion a person is picked up off the street and housed, this is a significant cost to the State.
The person is then returned to the street, only to be removed again.
The source explained the State was paying double and in several cases triple for the removal of the same individual, only for it to be recorded as three separate individuals, thus inflating the bills to be paid and the statistics of how many people were actually being removed.
Such payments run into millions of dollars.
Boodoo is also a special reserve police (SRP) officer on leave and the owner of a Tunapuna restaurant.
The Express has learnt that senior unit heads will also have their contracts terminated within the coming weeks as Persad-Bissessar tries to reshape the role and function of the Ministry.
In an unrelated matter, investigations have also started into a deputy manager attached to the Social Development Ministry’s Unemployment Relief Programme (URP).
Sources say the manager currently holds twin portfolios and is being investigated for ghost gangs under the URP.
The manager is also an SRP attached to the IAU.
Police sources say on two occasions a search warrant was executed at his Central home for arms and ammunition.
Police sources have confirmed that last Wednesday night his home was shot at and they are investigating the matter.
A senior police source said they have received complaints that the manager has been approaching contractors in the Couva and Central areas demanding money on behalf of a Member of Parliament.
Police say they believe the shooting of the manager’s home could be linked to his alleged illegal activities.