MINISTER for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation Guy Joseph Tuesday spoke to last week’s police search at the head office of the National Housing Corporation (NHC).
Staff of the NHC were temporarily out of office to facilitate deep cleaning services after mold was reported to have infected office space.
Upon their return to office on March 2nd, staff said they could not gain access to the facility as all of the locks had been changed in their absence. They said they were later called to a meeting with police officers who informed them of an ongoing investigation at the NHC. Due to this investigation, staff reported that they were asked to surrender to police keys to the office and filing cabinets. Computers at the head office were also confiscated for investigative work.
On that note the minister intimated, “We met with the Union and the workers and also a few members of the board and it was proposed to them that investigations would have to take place into the NHC based on allegations on all sides including the board, membership and the workers’ representatives.”
Joseph said the reason for the investigation was due to a number of irregularities which appeared to have taken place within the operations of the NHC. The irregularities, according to the minister, were related in part to improper financial practices.
“No financial statements or audits had been done since 2012,” Joseph remarked.
The minister went on, “As we speak, and even though we have all of our updated information on the NHC, you cannot produce the financial statements for the period of time.”
Joseph said that a number of complaints had been made in connection to various attempts to access the online banking of the NHC. He said that some of the attempts were made at approximately 6:30 am and 9:30 pm on respective dates, which were highly abnormal. He also said that hundreds of emails were suspiciously deleted from computers at the NHC.
“So that is why we know that some people may have had access to the system who are not suppose to have access and that is why we have investigations that are ongoing at this point in time,” the minister concluded.