Shameful but Legal: Corruption by Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit Director Leo Brewster

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.

Ho hum…

Next story, please?

Further Reading

BFP article: Barbados Government Official issues $400,000 in contracts to own company – but it’s legal thanks to Prime Minister Thompson

BFP article: Cowardly pee-in-pants Barbados Nation Newspaper hides name of corrupt Government Minister

Here is the Nation News article Red Zone just in case they erase it to change history…

Red Zone

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.

19 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

19 responses to “Shameful but Legal: Corruption by Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit Director Leo Brewster

  1. Mullins Bay Blog: Big Surprise: NationNews.com Reporting CZMU In Hot Seat – http://shar.es/ma47Z – #Barbados #environment

  2. politcal whoredom

    A little birdies told me that, the building of the marina at port st charles is responsible for a lot of the eraosion on the west coast!

  3. http://twitpic.com/144ywe – Where’s the beach? – http://shar.es/ma47Z – #Barbados #environment

  4. Johnny Postle

    Gaw Blimah. Now what is wrong with Leo getting a few dollars in his pocket? I will tell you what is wrong with it. When every Barbadian, except the ones who feed freely from the GTNLMD (Government Taxpayers No Lockup Money Drough) has sweat and ache over the pains that plague them from the economic recession, you got this blasted corrupt piece pilfering jobby collecting thousands of dollars without raising a sweat. Where is the law! This sort of thing does get me so f….king angry to think that he will not get a day up Dodds. Is there no more prevailing honesty within the Government service? Is every top level manager in Government doing the same as this piece of jobby? Jesus H Christ what is going on man.

  5. missing files game

    Isn’t this the same case that involved a disppearing filing cabinet of documents from CZMU?

    Barbados specializes in files disappearing either through fire or “misplacement.”

    Its quite the game and no one is ever held accountable. No one!

  6. Love

    BFP,

    Please launch an investigation as to why the Barbados Ambassador to Venezuela, Charles Brathwaite, was recently recalled. Reports indicate there was misappropiation of funds also.

    These public officers too tieffing .

  7. The Oracle

    I am sorry, but whatever credibility the CZMU had in this country is now down the tubes. How do we know that the corruption was/is limited just to Innovations R Us? How do we know their pronouncements about Global Warming were nothing more than “gullible warming” while they sold our coasts? This is very bad. Heads should roll.

  8. Crusoe

    Y’know, after reading this, I know further why I am not a money rich man like many, live in an average house (or compared to a huge amount nowadays, a small house), do not have funds to go here, there and everywhere like many, etc…

    But, I am rich in other ways and can sleep at night.

  9. Crusoe

    BFP can run a competition, ‘which is the best part of the article?’.

    I consider two to take the cake, either ‘The Accountant General’s Office could not locate the equipment up to the time of the audit’ OR ‘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’.

    Absolutely priceless both. I will vote for the former however, as it gives that extra bit of laughter.

  10. Wondering

    So the recalled ambassador issues a release to the media trying to divert attention from his thiefing ways. He was in fact recalled because of financial irregularities, but you know what until governments stop treating postings at diplomatic missions as political favours (sharing the fatter calf) these things will continue. Will he face the courts…NO…

  11. Johnny Postle @

    Can someone explain to me the difference between these two thiefings and correct me if I am wrong.

    1. We had a situation were two employees, a male and female, were brought before the courts for thiefing nuff money from , was it the treasury or national insurance ( I cannot remember after all I am bajan and got short memory)? I am not sure if they are up at Dodds or not but I know their case went before the law court.

    2. We got Leo Brewster who establish a company with a friend, against the rules that govern civil servants conduct, and he is still in a job.

    Two thiefings, one conducted by small fry and another by big fry.

    What makes these situations different that Leo can still be walking about, benefitting probably from his real estate investments and other interests, from free tax payers money and the other two, will never be able to hold another job in Barbados after their incarceration.

    There is no lawyer or politician that can tell me different that laws in Barbados strictly targets the average man.

  12. BFP

    Hi Johnny Postle

    I still haven’t seen any specific reference to any “civil servants conduct rules” that Brewster broke. There might be some, but I’d like to see the exact rule under the exact legal reference. Can anyone assist with this inquiry?

    Robert

  13. Fire Man

    Hi Robert

    Read Chapeter 3 of the General Orders for the Public Service.

    Fireman

  14. general schmeneral

    No civil servant has ever been charged with that section because it is unworkable and as full of holes as swiss cheese. Nothing happened against the very senior servants who own Harrison Resort (Barbados) Limited and nothing will happen now.

  15. Fireman

    No wonder these big boys can do what ever they want. They are fire proof!

  16. Realted article

    isnt this the same thing Dale Miller did at Water Authority?

  17. http://news.barbadostoday.bb/2012/08/16/in-hot-water/

    by Wade Gibbons

    Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr Leo Brewster, has been sent on leave by Government and advised to retain an attorney-at-law.

    A senior Government official told Barbados TODAY that Brewster was officially relieved of his duties on August 1 and that six charges would be brought against him stemming from an internal audit into the CZMU conducted more than two years ago by the office of the Accountant General.

    The Government official indicated that the CZMU’s deputy director, Dr Lorna Inniss, had assumed responsibility for the management of the unit.

    Almost three years ago Brewster was summoned before the Accountant General and asked 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 alleged 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 own 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 reported 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. In his report laid in Parliament the Accountant general charged that under Brewster’s management, CZMU made out cheque payments to post office boxes for people who had no physical addresses.

    The investigation raised a red flag with respect to conflict of interest when travel claims were made to CZMU for a site visit to a project at Ginger Bay, St. Philip, although the claimant was also a director of Innovations R Us which had been awarded the work. Brewster gave a written response to the Accountant General, indicating that CZMU had ended its dealings with Innovations R Us, and that he and his colleague had terminated their association with the company.

    Brewster also promised that the CZMU would “ensure suitable quotations are sought in the future” with respect to work allocations.

    In February 2010 Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin confirmed that the matter had been passed on to them. Brewster and workmate Lester Toppin removed themselves as directors of the company, Innovations R Us, in December 2007 but it continued to exist under new directorship.

  18. Pingback: Charges against CZMU Director politically motivated by election, ongoing Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary litigation? | Barbados Free Press

  19. CH

    “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”
    No man, cant be true. Arthur, the saint, did this? Naaaaaaaaaaaaah