‘Face meeting’ set with selected asphalt workers

By Rehana Ahamad

BEFORE any legal action is taken, officials with the fingers of mismanagement of the state-owned asphalt works are due to appear before the Human Resources (HR) Committee to answer for a series of suspicious incidents in the facility.
The factory, a subsidiary of Demerara Harbor Bridge Corporation (DHBC), was put under the microscope following allegations of corruption highlighted in the local press in September 2020. A team of experts came together and began an investigation into operations of the plant. The probe examined all dealings in the factory for the period 2013-2020. The investigation wrapped up last December, and the findings were reported to Senior Public Works Minister Juan Edghill on December 30.
That report was then sent to the DHBC Board of Directors, and after discussions, it was decided that the board’s Human Resources Committee would engage with the officers considered to be guilty of wrongdoing at the factory.

Rawlston Adams, Corporation Manager of Demerara Harbor Bridge

“The board has found that certain employees must be held to account for the mismanagement and some of the breaches that have occurred, and in their discussions, they (the board) needed to have a” face to face “interview with those individuals, ”Edghill told reporters on Friday.
He later confirmed to the Guyana Chronicle that DHBC Manager Rawlston Adams would be included on the list of people to ask, as he was at the center of one of the investigation’s more shocking findings.
He reportedly approved the purchase of a $ 897,000 wristband for himself, as a gift from the company on International Men’s Day 2019. In the report, the investigation team facilitated responses from the DHBC on all findings. Responding to concerns over the very generous purchase, the company said that donation was the norm at the organization, and that “Donations are also made to all other men in the corporation.”


However, the gift purchases for each of the other guys were worth around $ 10,000 each. The investigation team decided that, due to the lack of an independent approval system, the purchases can be regarded as a misuse of the plant funds for personal gain.
Chairman of the investigation team, Chartered Accountant Chateram Ramdihal had explained that such expensive purchase should have been sought by the Board of Directors, or in the absence of a board, the subject minister should have had the final say.
In the report, the team recommended that gifts be made to employees of the corporation in accordance with generally accepted principles, and “arm’s length.”

The probe also found that keeping poor credit records and policies not only cost the company millions in materials, but also created a path for mismanagement of state resources, paving the way for gross corruption.
Nevertheless, Edghill said that based on the outcome of the HR meetings, the Board of Directors will determine suitable outcomes for the culprits.
“The board’s HR sub-committee is to meet and interview them before formally acting [is] to take. As far as I know, the chair of the board is arranging for those interviews early next week, ”said Edghill.
Edghill declined to comment on what some of the consequences are likely to be, and whether legal action is likely in any of the cases.
“To say anything before that (the HR meeting) would be premature,” the minister maintained.