UPDATED October 22, 2011
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Populace learns another lesson about the Protected Class…
You have to love this country, folks. Dr Leo Brewster gets a job running a government agency, the CZMU. As part of the job, he hands out millions of dollars of contracts to others. Then he and a fellow government employee start a company and Brewster awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in ‘work’ to his own company. Not satisfied with this, he has the government purchase equipment for his company to use. The equipment cannot be found in government inventory.
Nothing like having the government equip your business – keeps those start-up costs down. Slick!
This goes on for almost four years during which time Brewster’s company also collects VAT and fails to remit the tax to government. Yup, they collected the tax from the government agency and failed to remit back to government. So it wasn’t just a loss of collected tax revenues, it was an actual theft OF government funds.
That’s really slick!
Here we are a year and a half later and just like we predicted at the time, it all faded away. Dr. Brewster is still Director at CMZU. Nothing changed.
Perhaps there was something in the news that we missed – perhaps not – but does it really matter?
The lesson is again taught to the populace: Government job = money on the side with no worries. Even if you get caught.
Original story first published February 19, 2010…
Leo Brewster awarded government contracts to own company!
Dr. Leo Brewster shouldn’t get too upset about the current allegations that he directed hundreds of thousands of dollars of government contracts to his own company.
Heck, that’s standard operating procedure in Barbados and it’s not against the law because neither the former BLP government nor the current DLP government want to outlaw this common practice by elected and appointed government officials. They don’t want to kill that golden goose just yet, ya know! (Not until we get closer to the next election. Gotta get that last bit ‘o juice before the game changes.)
If Brewster had been a little wiser he would have put the company in his sister’s name or something like other government officials do, but except for the embarrassment of being caught with his hand in the cookie jar he need not fear any charges. Oh, there might be an issue with the VAT his company collected and didn’t pay, but even that will be excused away as a cashflow problem. Hell, they just forgave $20 million in taxes to the Barbados Turf Club so why should good old Leo be treated differently than the rich pony owners?
Was Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary impacted by Brewster’s incomplete work?
The article says that Brewster’s company was paid for work not completed and also work at the Graeme Hall swamp. Hmmmmm…. I wonder if that was part of the problem at the Nature Sanctuary? No doubt both the Nature Sanctuary and government lawyers will be all over that issue to see if any mud sticks.
Not to worry though. Brewster might get sacked to stage some political theatre, but he won’t get charged especially concerning awarding government contracts to his own company.
There will be no charges. The story will fade from the press in a week or two.
You see friends, every few months the Thompson government comes up with another “GOTCHA” moment and gets a few headlines – but no one is ever charged. Not one person has been charged in the past two years with any corruption offence and that includes former Prime Minister Owen Arthur who was nailed depositing a “campaign donation” cheque into to his personal bank account. Thompson and the DLP are happy enough with making some noise but you’ll never see a trial because all sorts of skeletons would be appearing and they can’t have that!
Can we say “VECO” ??? (It wasn’t only the BLP suppliers who were awarded no-tender contracts ya know!)
So don’t get too excited about this latest little scandal folks. There will be no charges and it will fade from the press in a week or two.
And you can take this to the bank: No member of the Barbados news media will ask Prime Minister Thompson about why nobody is ever charged with corruption offences.
Next story, please?
Here is the Nation News article Red Zone just in case they erase it to change history…
AN INTERNAL AUDIT of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) by the Accountant General has unearthed several irregularities.
Investigations by the WEEKEND NATION have revealed that CZMU’s director Dr Leo Brewster was called before the Accountant General to explain, among other things, the awarding of contracts for work within his department without adherence to the Financial Management and Audit Act, or the Financial Rules, 1971.
It was discovered that Brewster and one of his senior officers, hydrographer Lester Toppin, formed a company called Innovations R Us Incorporated in September 2004, and two months later Brewster started awarding work at CZMU to his company.
The audit revealed that between 2005 and 2007 CZMU paid over $300 000 to Innovations R Us for a variety of services ranging from clearing sites and regrading sand to professional fees that went as high as $53 000.
The Accountant General also discovered that CZMU awarded a contract to Innovations R Us at Graeme Hall Swamp, where equipment was purchased by the private company for CZMU and used by the former to carry out the work. An invoice was later made out in the name of CZMU but attached to an invoice from Innovations R Us stating “fees”.
The Accountant General’s Office could not locate the equipment up to the time of the audit.
The Accountant General also said the private company’s invoices showed it collected VAT from the CZMU but did not pay it into the VAT Department. As a result, it was noted that Innovations R Us was indebted to Government and this should have precluded CZMU from doing business with it.
Amounts in excess of $60 000 per annum were also paid by CZMU to people who were not VAT registrants. The Accountant General cited where CZMU paid a company over $178 000 without any work quotations. The CZMU also made full payment to Innovations R Us for a project in March 2007 that remained incomplete up to the time of the audit.
When contacted, Brewster declined to comment.
However, the WEEKEND NATION was able to obtain a copy of Brewster’s signed responses to the Accountant General’s audit. He stated that CZMU had ended its dealings with Innovations R Us, and that he and his colleague had terminated their association with the company.
A check at the Corporate Registry has confirmed this. Brewster and Toppin removed themselves as directors of R Us on December 1, 2007, and two others took their place on March 28, 2008.