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Committee calls National Self Help Commission ‘rogue entity’

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Carl Celestine has been appointed interim chairman has been appointed at the National Commission for Self Help Limited

This after the organisation’s chairman Edgar Zephyrine tendered his resignation.

In April the commission appeared before the PAEC chaired by Wade Mark and was described as a “rogue entity.”

Zephyrine was accused of “doing your own thing as chairman,” by Mark.

Several committee members including Mark, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus and David Small had raised concerns about the Abercrombie Fund which the Commission invested TT$20 million in at First Citizens.

“How does a company on a tight budget have $20 million to invest?” Small asked. Zephyrine said the investment in the fund “has been a bit of a mystery.”

But Baptiste-Primus noted Zephyrine himself had signed off on two withdrawals from the fund.

Baptiste-Primus expressed concern that money from the fund was used to pay suppliers without approval from either the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Community Development.

The Committee also heard from the commission’s corporate Secretary and Legal Advisor Kendra Thomas-Long who said she had recognised “certain breaches of control by the Zephrine- led Board and “sought to raise it via a board note, but I was prevented from doing so.”

The T&T Guardian was told that Zephyrine subsequently resigned as chairman. Another Board member also tendered her resignation shortly after the PAEC meeting.

Yesterday, employees of the Commission suggested the need for a “forensic audit” into the entity as they called for an account of the TT$10 million withdrawn from the Abercrombie fund under the tenure of the Zephyrine- led Board.

The T&T Guardian was also told that an acting CEO is due to take up duties on Monday after the CEO, who was suspended by the Zephryine led- Board, decided not to return to the commission .

Senior staffers said the organisation is “finally settling down,” and returning to “its original purpose where it gives grants and help people. We were at a standstill but things are slowly picking up.”

Efforts to contact line Minister for the Commission Nyzan Gadsby Dolly proved futile yesterday.


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