MoBay mayor orders payment probe

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation, Councillor Homer Davis has given his chief executive officer 24 hours to present a report on the payment history of the former personal assistant of the councillor for the Granville Division, Michael Troupe.

The corporation's chairman told members of the media about the probe yesterday.

“We have some concerns and based on what has been revealed to me, I have asked my executive officer to conduct an immediate investigation into this matter and to furnish me with the report... in order that I can send a report in to the minister of local government and community development,” Councillor Davis said yesterday.

Councillor Davis explained that the probe became essential following news reports that Troupe's former personal assistant had quit her job three months ago, but the corporation is in possession of documentation that suggests otherwise.

“There is some concern, based on reports that I have read in the media, that this lady has severed company with Councillor Troupe some three months ago. And if you are looking at three months ago, it would put us to about August and at best the end of August; [however] documents at the council have revealed that this lady was given task by Councillor Troupe and signed off on by Councillor Troupe, and has been recommended for payment by Councillor Troupe for the period of October 1 to October 31st. As a result of that task, payment was made to that individual, who has signed as receiving payment on the 17th of November,” Councillor Davis said.

“At this time we have seen documents where that person in question was paid for functions signed off on by Councillor Michael Troupe. As a matter of fact, it was signed off on the 27th of October. So if I am to infer from that, that lady was still assigned to him up to the end of October,” Davis continued.

Davis, who is also the mayor of Montego Bay, explained that Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie recently established arrangements for councillors to be assigned an administrative assistant who is paid a monthly stipend of $25,000.

“This is a new initiative established by the minister of local government. We don't have an office and from time to time councillors need somebody to do our administrative work,” he explained.

But, as a prerequisite to payment of the stipend, the councillors are required to complete a claims form at the end of the month, detailing “the nature of work that has been done and recommend to the director of finance or to the finance department for payments that are to be made”.

Troupe's former personal assistant was implicated in last month's seizure of a shipment of 119 illegal guns and a large quantity of ammunition in Miami, United States, that was destined for Jamaica.

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