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Guyana | Hughes dismiss allegations of conflict of interest in contract award

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes on Monday rejected claims that she breached the Code of Conduct contained in the Integrity Commission Act. Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes on Monday rejected claims that she breached the Code of Conduct contained in the Integrity Commission Act.
GEORGETOWN,  Guyana, Aprtil 15, 2019 -  Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes once again sought to dismiss allegations of corruption, arising from the award of a contract to a company of which she was one of the principals, Videomedia Productions.

Appearing on 94.1FM’s “Hot Seat” on Monday afternoon, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes dismissed the allegation of “a multimillion-dollar contract” to awarded to her company, Videomega Productions.

The allegation was made last week by way of a press release by members of the Opposition who alleged that the company, which is being managed by Russel Lancaster since 2015, received contracts from the Department of Energy to produce radio and television public service announcements (PSAs).

The Public Telecommunications Minister stated that she has not been a part of her company since assuming office in 2015 and has followed the procedures put forward by the Integrity Commission.

“There are very strict scenarios that the Integrity Commission asks you to follow and I have followed all of those guidelines.”

Minister Hughes noted the “concerted effort to address the conflict of interest” in sections of the press with regards to the contract that was given to Videomega Productions.

She stressed that this particular situation is not an issue of conflict of interest.

“A conflict of interest arises where a public official makes or participates in the making of a decision in the execution of his or her office and at the same time, knows or ought to have known that in the making of that decision there is material benefiting either directly or indirectly to further his or her personal interest.”

Minister Hughes highlighted that the contract “did not come out of” the Public Telecommunications Ministry.

“It comes out of an agency that I have absolutely nothing to do with... I have nothing to do with the Department of Energy” she remarked.

Following the allegations, the Public Telecommunications Minister issued a statement dismissing the rumours that she was aware of the contract being awarded.

“Russel Lancaster was appointed Manager and is responsible for the operations of the company. I have since been informed that the contract was for the production of three 60-second television Public Service Announcements (PSA). The value of the contract is $832,200. The award of this contract was never brought to my attention neither would I have been aware of it in the normal conduct of the company’s business,” the press release stated.

  • Countries: Guyana

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