FID, MOCA probing case of missing millions at education ministry as Williams calls in policeThursday, October 14, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Financial Investigation Division (FID) has been asked by Education Minister Fayval Williams to undertake a probe into the reported loss of more than $120 million of public funds that was reportedly paid over to the Joint Committee on Tertiary Education (JCTE).
A police probe into the matter is also underway.
Williams has also separately written to the police and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) offering to provide any information they may need to assist them in their probe.
The development in the fast moving case follows Wednesday's incident where the acting permanent secretary in the education ministry, Dr Grace McLean was sent on leave.
That came one day after McLean was fingered in a damning special report from Auditor General, Pamela Monroe Ellis, for failing to exercise her fiduciary responsibilities having authorised payments to JCTE after it claimed it had become a private company. The JCTE told the AG during her probe that it was not obligated to provide her with any information.
The AG has also cited fiduciary failings on the part of former permanent secretary in the ministry, Dean-Roy Bernard, who now works out of the Ministry of Finance and Public Service.
Having outlined that fraud may have been committed Monroe Ellis had urged Williams to call in the police or some other investigative body.
See below the full text of Williams' statement:
The Minister of Education, Youth and Information (MoEYI), the Honourable Fayval Williams, acknowledges the tabling of the Special Audit Report on the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education (JCTE), prepared by the Auditor General's Department (AuGD) and tabled in Parliament on October 12, 2021.
Following the receipt of AuGD's recommendations, the Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams formally referred the matter to the Chief Technical Director of the Financial Investigations Division (FID) in a letter dated October 7, 2021.
Minister Williams also wrote to the Director-General of MOCA, Colonel Desmond Edwards, in a letter dated October 14, 2021, indicating the MoEYI's availability to provide any information needed by the Agency to aid in its investigations. The Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF's) Acting Commissioner of Police was also alerted to the AuGD's report.
The MoEYI remains fully committed to cooperating with the AuGD, FID and MOCA to facilitate all necessary investigations in keeping with the principles of transparency and accountability.