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N Touch
Wednesday 25 April 2018
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Life Fund corruption probe completed

AN English Queen’s Counsel whose speciality is dealing with complex fraud has been retained to advise Head of the Fraud Squad Snr Supt Totaram Dookhie, on what recommendations should be made to Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, SC, on the Children’s Life Fund probe.

Queen’s Counsel Edward Jenkins, who is also a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Bar, arrived in the country two Mondays ago and was given a mandate to complete his recommendations to Snr Supt Dookhie by the end of this week. The probe was ordered after the Fraud Squad received reports of alleged misappropriation of money from the Life Fund last year.

Dookhie and a team of officers were assigned to investigate.

Sources said yesterday that the police probe has been concluded, so Jenkins was retained to review the findings and make recommendations to the DPP. Contacted yesterday, Dookhie referred Newsday to the acting CoP.

Newsday understands that several key people associated with the Life Fund were interviewed by the Fraud Squad. Some were co-operative and others opted not to make themselves available.

At least two people aligned to the fund may reportedly face fraud charges.

On July 7, 2015, interim chairman of the Children’s Life Fund Authority (CLFA) Dr Colin Furlonge said the tenure of former CEO of the authority Genevieve Madoo, was not extended because the board had lost confidence in the way she operated.

Madoo was dismissed in April 2015.

She then claimed to have discovered theft and misappropriation during her tenure. On July 7, 2015, she was summoned by the Fraud Squad to give an official statement, according to Furlonge.

Newsday understands that the Fraud Squad probe focused on 13 alleged discrepancies between September 2013 and April 2014.

The former chairman of the fund was a signatory in four of the 13 cases under probe by the police. In 2014, it was determined that $27 million had been deposited in the Life Fund and $30 million was expected in 2015. The fund, the brainchild of former prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar,was set up in 2010 to assist ill children.

Persad-Bissessar gave instructions that all her MPs and others in government should contribute a percentage of their salaries to the fund. A number of children benefited under the People’s Partnership government, but the current administration opted to discontinue the fund when it took office in 2015.

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