Long Island MP and WSC chairman Adrian Gibson.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
POLICE have been called in to review files of the internal investigation at the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC), which began as a theft probe but has since turned up other “sensitive matters”.
WSC Chairman Adrian Gibson told reporters yesterday he made the decision to file a formal complaint with police over findings of the Internal Controls and Compliance Division last week after consultation with Works Minister Desmond Bannister.
The internal audit is running simultaneously with an ongoing Ernst & Young forensic audit - the cost of which has not yet been made public.
Five people have been sent on leave since investigations began; however, Mr Gibson confirmed three of these have since been brought back to work.
Asked by reporters about theft, Mr Gibson said there was an alleged theft of items and when asked the value, he said in the "thousands of dollars."
He added that there were several “offshoots” which were of grave concern.
“The letter (to police) was issued by myself upon consultation with Minister Bannister on Thursday of last week. No one knows what the forensic audit would say so I can’t speak to ties (between the two audits), once all of the reports are out we will be able to see if there are any nexus. Internal controls are reviewing allegations of theft, sensitive matters that I don’t want to speak to in the press. I want them to conduct without outside pressure. Based on what was stated to myself and minister, we determined to invite the police.”
The Long Island MP added: “Whatever is the outcome with respect to the reports, action will be taken, I can assure you of that. Everything has value, (theft probe) talking about thousands of dollars but there are other sensitive matters offshoots from the allegation of theft and those are of grave concern as well. Some of them could be of a nature that warrant the police coming in so we’ve taken the liberty to invite the police.”
Mr Gibson said he planned to table the forensic audit in Parliament, and could likely make the internal report public after consultation.
He was reluctant to provide a timeline for completion of the respective audits; however, he noted the forensic audit was nearing completion, and some elements of the internal audit may be finalised this week.
Mr Gibson fielded questions about the status of the audits at a press conference announcing the expansion of water mains in Long Island.
Asked about considerations to privatise the corporation, Mr Gibson said there were no immediate plans to release state ownership but forecast a reduction in government subsidy.
“There are no immediate plans to privatise but there are plans to reduce the subsidy and find ways and means that the corporation can make up the difference in its own output, its own collections,” Mr Gibson said.
“Every year the corporation gets some $30 million. Water is a necessity, I see no reason why we ought not be profitable and moving towards being profitable.”
When asked whether the reduction would impact staffing, Mr Gibson said: “I don’t want to negatively impact staff but with everything, as time moves on we’ll see what adjustments are needed.”