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Local Govt Minister laments: Corruption at all levels

He identified corrupt practices taking place in the engineering departments where money is being solicited from people to get building plans authorised and passed

Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein said corruption is existing at all level of the regional corporations and it must be stopped.

He said while this is nothing new, somebody has to say something and somebody has to take action against it.

Hosein told mayors, chairmen, aldermen, councillors, administrators and heads of department at an orientation seminar in San Fernando on Tuesday morning, that the change has to start with them.

He identified corrupt practices taking place in the engineering departments where money is being solicited from people to get building plans authorised and passed.

“This corruption must stop,” he said pointing out that each time the plans are failed, more money is involved as people have to go back to the fire station, Town and Country Planning, the health department and other places to begin the process all over again.

He said corruption is also happening in the transportation department, “where you pass somebody’s white waste, and if a man jump in a car and drive up the road and say I will give you $100 or $200, they would come back and pick it up.”

The minister also took issue with the use of state-owned vehicles being used and abused to go to Carnival fetes and the beach.

He appealed to the administrators to put logos and GPS on all their vehicles, although he observed “some people are so boldfaced they would go with the logo on the vehicle to Maracas beach or Mayaro or a Carnival fete or church.

The use of corporation vehicles are to be taken very seriously,” he told the packed audience. He reminded them of a conversation he had with his permanent secretary that all vehicles owned by the corporation and other state bodies must have the unit’s logo.

“Company vehicles are to be used specifically for the company. Listen to me very carefully, if you see this is happening, report it. It is wrong to use company vehicles for your personal business.”

In his wide-ranging discourse on management, productivity, corruption, funding and accountability, Hosein also indicated government’s intention to increase illegal dumping fines.

He said the increase has become necessary, “because people are taking this thing for a joke.” He said the current legal fine for dumping is $4,000 or an alternative of six months imprisonment for ordinary citizens and for corporate bodies, the fine is $8,000.