JAMAICA | Police asked to probe Education Ministry/JCTE irregularities

JAMAICA | Police asked to probe Education Ministry/JCTE irregularities

KINGSTON, Jamaica, October 15, 2021 - The police has now been called in by Education Minister Fayval Williams to conduct a probe into the questionable transfer of $124 million by the Ministry of Education to the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education. 

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Education Minister Dr. Grace McLean has been sent on leave.Acting Permanent Secretary in the Education Minister Dr. Grace McLean has been sent on leave.According to the Education Minister, the Financial Investigation Division (FID), the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and the police, have been called in to investigate the matter involving Acting Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry Dr. Grace McLean and the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education (JCTE).

Education Minister Fayval Williams on Thursday afternoon tweeted a news release which stated that, following the recommendations from the Auditor General, she referred the matter to the Chief Technical Director in the FID on October 7.

Mrs. Williams said she wrote on Thursday to the Director General of MOCA Colonel Desmond Edwards indicating the ministry's availability to provide information needed by the agency to assist its investigations.

The Education Minister said the Acting Commissioner of Police was also informed of the Auditor General's report.

She says she’s affirming her co-operation with several investigative bodies on the Auditor General’s report on the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education, JCTE.

In a statement, the Minister says she acknowledges the tabling of the Special Audit Report on the, JCTE, prepared by the Auditor General’s Department.

Chairman of the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education (JCTE), Dr. Cecil Cornwall who says his organization is a privately registered company which is not subject to scrunity by the auditor general's department.Chairman of the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education (JCTE), Dr. Cecil Cornwall who says his organization is a privately registered company which is not subject to scrunity by the auditor general's department.Minister Williams says following the receipt of the Auditor General’s recommendations, the matter was formally referred to the Chief Technical Director of the Financial Investigations Division, FID.

The Auditor General report, tabled on Tuesday, called for the police or an anti-corruption agency to conduct a probe following the transfer of $124 million by the Ministry of Education to the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education under questionable circumstances. 

The Auditor General said the money was transferred to the JCTE over a 32-month period.

Some $94.9 million was related to educational programmes which the JCTE was carrying out under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the ministry. 

The Auditor General revealed that, to date, the ministry has not been able to account for the use of the $124 million. 

Dr. McLean, the senior technocrat in the ministry, has been accused of failing in her fiduciary duty to safeguard government resources. She went on leave on Wednesday. 

The Office of the Prime Minister said Dr. McLean's leave will ensure there is no hindrance, real or perceived, to the course of the investigations.

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