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Wednesday, May 15, 2013




The Choiseul Village Council was established pursuant to the provisions of the Local Authorities
Ordinance Chapter 239, Revised Laws of St. Lucia, 1957 (repealed).

Section 6 (1) of the Local Authorities Ordinance, Chapter 239, Revised Laws of St. Lucia, 1957 (repealed) stipulates the following:

“The Governor in Council may declare any area in the Colony to be an urban, village or rural district for the purposes of this Ordinance and may define the boundaries of such district and also of any district created by this Ordinance and may alter, restrict, or enlarge the same.

As mentioned elsewhere in the report, in keeping with Section 6 (1) of the Ordinance (reference page 67) the following communities fell within the boundaries of the Choiseul Village Council:

a.   La Pointe, Delcer, Industry, Franciou, Jacobie, Ravineau, Bois Dinde, Esperance West,
Fiette West, Myers Bridge, Derriere Morne West, Anse L Ivrogne, Deville Estate;

b.  Anse John, Fiette East, Portalese, Mongouge, Morne Sion, Libereaux, Martin, Ponyon, New Field, Victoria, Esperance East, Derriere Morne East;

c.   Le Riche, Savanne George, Choiseul Village, Reunion, La Fargue;

d.   Belle Vue, Morne Jacques, Des Randeaux, Dacretin, Manana, Victoria, Mailly;

e.   Motete, Mondesir, Roblot, Dupre, La Maze, River Doree, Debreuil, Monzie;
f.   Sauzay, Cafeiere, Capognotte, Dugard, Dacretin;

g.   La Perle, Londonderry, Gertrine, Giraud, Beausoliel, Beausejour;

h.   Mont  Lezard,  Parc  Estate,  Saltibus,  Daban,  Gaya  Bois,  Warwick,  Grande  Magazin, Belvedere East;

i.   Piaye, Balembouche, Balca, Bongale.

The Review revealed some very significant findings in relation to the Choiseul Village Council. Details of these findings are outlined below.


i.      Account Opened Without Proper Approval

We noticed that Council opened and operated an account (A/C no. 090669) at the Choiseul Cooperative Credit Union from April 2009. There is no evidence to show that Council received the approval of the Accountant General to open and operated the account at the Credit Union.

It was observed that Council used that account to deposit funds ($100,000.00) given by Central Government under the Easter Economic Stimulus Programme in April 2009. It must be noted that the Accountant General had opened a bank account at Bank of St. Lucia for the Choiseul Village Council in February 2008, for the purposes of depositing funds received from Central Government. Despite the existence of the BOSL account, Council chose to open the said account at the Credit Union, in which was deposited the $100,000.00 (see Exhibit 56).

ii.     Bank Account into Overdraft

Regulation 114 of the Financial Regulations Section 54, Finance (Administration) Act, Revised
Laws of St. Lucia, 2005 states as follows:

No accounting officer may overdraw a bank account operated by him or her.”

It was duly noted that the Bank of St. Lucia account went into overdraft on the 23rd of May 2008 up until the 13th May 2009 to the tune of $765.00. In fact Council, Ministry of Local Government and Accountant General’s Department were not even aware that the bank account went into overdraft, simply because they were not monitoring and doing the necessary bank reconciliations.

This is a serious violation of the Financial Regulations and the respective parties must ensure that the situation does not repeat itself.

iii.    Collections Not Paid-in on Time

Regulation 129 of the Financial Regulations Section 54, Finance (Administration) Act, Revised Laws of St. Lucia, 2005 stipulates the following:

(1)       Any cash held in excess of daily requirements shall be lodged in a commercial bank;

(2)       Where banking facilities are not available, any cash held in excess of daily requirement
shall be secured in a strong room or safe.”

We noticed that Council did not pay monies collected to the Sub Accountant for Soufriere/Choiseul on a daily basis because the Sub Accountant visited Choiseul only twice per week, Tuesdays and Fridays.

Therefore we enquired of the Clerk of Council as to the mechanism used to keep monies collected safe when the Sub Accountant has not visited. The Clerk of Council indicated monies collected on the days the Sub Accountant is absent are paid into her credit union account and would be withdrawn on days that the sub-collector would be in office.

This practice is totally unacceptable as it opens collections of the Council to significant risk of embezzlement. Further, the Council faces risk of loss if Clerk of Council was to depart the Council before these monies are withdrawn from her credit union account.

If there is real need for Council to have an account at the Credit Union for the purpose of securing monies in the absence of the Sub Accountant, Council should make a request to the Accountant General’s Department through the Ministry of the Local Government.

iv.   Council Records

According to the Job Description of Clerks of Town/Village Council, one of the duties/tasks of the Clerk is to ensure that the records of all transactions are properly secured and kept and shall make all such documents available for inspection by authorised persons. He/she shall keep all other records as may be required by Council or the Ministry. Financial Regulation 156 (reference page 27) also places these responsibilities on Clerk of Council

On the 6th March, 2012, used cheque books were requested from the Clerk. Clerk indicated that she did not have all the cheque books because they were in the possession of the Former District Representative, Rufus Bousquet.

She indicated and we quote: He came with someone who appeared to be from the Taiwanese Embassy and he indicated that he needed the cashbook and cheque books to reconcile his accounts” (see Exhibit 57).

Rufus Bousquet took possession of ten (10) cheque books in the month of February 2012, at a time he was no longer the Parliamentary Representative for the Choiseul-Saltibus Constituency. In fact, he had no authority to be in possession of these books. The Clerk requested the cheque books from him and a week later, they were received. We cannot confirm whether he did make alterations to the cheque books.

After the incident, we requested from the Clerk of Council other documents in relation to procurement of construction services to substantiate the several enormous disbursements that were made from the bank account of Council. We were once more directed to the Former Parliamentary Representative, Rufus Bousquet. However, several requests to Mr Bousquet by the Council (Clerk) and the Ministry of Local Government to release the necessary documents proved futile (see Exhibit 58).

Further, we made enquiries at the Office of the new Parliamentary Representative, Lorne Theophilus, to establish whether Former Parliamentary Representative, Rufus Bousquet handed over any documents in relation to the procurement of constructions services for the Constituency of Choiseul. The Office of the new Parliamentary Representative, Lorne Theophilus has confirmed that Former Parliamentary Representative, Rufus Bousquet did not hand over any documents whatsoever when he demitted office.

We are of the view that this practice by Former Parliamentary Representative, Rufus Bousquet is a fundamental breach of Sections 30 and 33 of the Constitution of St. Lucia. Whereas the location and the individual in the Office of Parliamentary Representative may change from time to time, the constitutional office of Parliamentary Representative for the Choiseul Constituency is a going- concern and will remain a going-concern.

Consequently all documentation in relation to completed or on-going projects and initiatives for the Constituency of Choiseul has to be passed from the former holder-of-office to current holder- of-office. Further, it was irresponsible of Clerk of Council, Williana St Rose to have given possession of these documents to the Former Parliamentary Representative.

v. Procurement at council

Under Regulation 11 (1) of the Procurement and Stores Regulations  Section 54, Finance (Administration) Act, Chapter 15.01, Revised Laws of St. Lucia, 2005 the Minister for Finance appointed a Central Tenders Board to evaluate tenders for procurement of goods and services and sale of public goods.

Further, under Regulation 16 (1) of the Procurement and Stores Regulations, the Director of Finance appointed a Departmental Tenders Board to perform the functions of the Central Tenders Board in cases wherethe value of goods and services does not exceed $100,000.00.

Further still, Regulation 26 (1) of the Procurement and Stores Regulations Section 54, Finance (Administration) Act, Chapter 15.01, Revised Laws of St. Lucia, 2005 stipulated the following:

Works or services not exceeding $20,000 in value, or such greater amount as the Director of Finance and Planning determines, may be authorised by works orders signed by any officer authorised to do so by the accounting officer, without the execution of a written contract.

 It is noted that at the time of the Review the Director of Finance had raised the amount to $40,000.00.

We requested from Clerk of Council contracts, works orders and payment certificates in relation to works projects that were paid from the Council’s bank account for the period under review. Clerk of Council indicated that she was only in possession of a few works orders. She indicated that all contracts, works orders and payment certificates were issued from the Office of Parliamentary Representative.

We examined the few works orders and payment certificates that were made available by Clerk of Council. It was observed that within the Office of Parliamentary Representative there was a Works Division which managed all contracts, work orders and payment certificates and Parliamentary Representative, Rufus Bousquet acted as Quantity Surveyor and Authorising Officer on all the contracts, works orders and payment certificates (see Exhibits 59, 60 and 61).

Further, it was noticed that Former Parliamentary Representative, Rufus Bousquet, sent a request to Clerk of Council, Williana St. Rose, to pay Sylvester Regis the sum of $20,820.00 for purported repairs to the Fiette Road. The request from the Parliamentary Representative was dated 26th November, 2011, a non-working day and two (2) days before the General Elections of 2011. However, the cheque (BOSL no.000334) that was prepared and issued to Sylvester Regis was dated 25th November, 2011.

This makes it clear that Clerk of Council backdated the cheque to give the impression that payment was issued on the last working day before the General Elections of 28th November, 2011. Further, we also noted that the said cheque was only presented to the Bank on 12th December, 2011.

It must be noted also that Sylvester Regis received the biggest share of works contracts. He received contracts to the value of $402,330.00.

The above is a clear example of a circumstance where a Clerk of Council allowed herself to be used by a Parliamentary Representative for the purpose of manipulating the procurement process in the Constituency (see Exhibits 59 and 62).

vi.      Payments Not Accounted For

Under Section 2 – Definitions, Finance (Administration) Act, Chapter 15.01, Revised Laws of St. Lucia, 2005 an accountable officer” and apublic officer are described respectively as follows:

a public officer or accounting officer concerned in or responsible for the
collection,  receipts,  custody,  issues  or  payment  of  public  monies,  stores, stamps, investments, securities, or negotiable instruments, whether the property of the Government or on deposit with or entrusted to the Government or to any public officer in his or her official capacity either alone or jointly with any other public officer or any other person”

a person holding or acting in any public office

There were hundreds of payments made by the Council for works projects but the only documentation available for verification were documents in connection with payments made from funds derived from Central Government subventions. Documentation in connection with payments made from funds derived from Taiwanese grants was not available at the Council’s office for verification.

Clerk of Council (Mrs St.Rose) indicated that documentation in connection with payments made from funds derived from Taiwanese grants was managed by the Office of Parliamentary Representative. According to the Clerk of Council, when payments were to be made, the Former District Representative would send her the various work orders and contracts for payments, she would then write the cheques and return all documents and the cheques to the District Representatives office.

As a consequence, we were unable to ascertain whether payments made from the bank account of Council for works projects were made to the correct suppliers and in the correct amounts.

vii. Easter Economic Stimulus Package

We noticed that Central Government issued an amount of $100,000.00 to Council under the Easter Economic Stimulus Programme, April 2009. Council deposited the funds into an account that was opened at the Choiseul Cooperative Credit Union without the approval of the Accountant General.

According to the Application for Deposit Account” form, there were three signatories to the account and these were as follows:

Elmira Joseph   -  Chairperson of Council Williana St Rose -  Clerk of Council
Henson Samuel -   Member of Council

In addition, it is longstanding practice and the policy of the Ministry of Local Government, that two signatories were needed on all disbursement vouchers/cheques, with Clerk of Council being the compulsory signatory.

An examination of relevant disbursement vouchers submitted by the Credit Union revealed that only the signature of Clerk of Council appeared on the disbursement vouchers which the Credit Union used as its authority to debit the account.

Further, there were two amounts totalling $6,000.00 (2,883.78 + 3,116.22) that were disbursed from the account and transferred to another account at the Credit Union (A/C # 890) on 15th April, 2009. We saw no authorisation from Council for these debits to the account.

In addition, according to documentation from Council all the funds were disbursed for works and activities in connection with Choiseul Beautification Programme and the Supervisor for all works under the Programme was Griffith Jn Baptiste. There was no evidence that Griffith Jn Baptiste was a member or employee of Council. Investigations revealed that Griffith Jn Baptiste was a member of the UWP Choiseul Constituency Group. Further, there is no evidence that Council sanctioned the works contracts that were issued to the various contractors under the Programme neither did Chairperson of Council countersigned the payment request as required by the Section 30 of the Local Authorities Ordinance, Chapter 239, Revised Laws of St. Lucia, 1957 (repealed).

Further still, the documentation revealed that one of the contractors under the Programme was Dedan Jn Baptiste. In fact the documentation revealed that works for that contractor was supervised and certified by Griffith Jn Baptiste and the said Contractor was paid an amount $28,000.00. Investigations revealed that Contractor, Dedan Jn Baptiste and Supervisor, Griffith Jn Baptiste was one and the same person (Griffith Dedan Christiani Jn Baptiste N.I no. 122008) (see Exhibit 63).


i.         Value for Money – Procurement

a.   Works Project

As alluded to elsewhere in this report, accounting officers or officers duly authorised to sign or authorise payment instruments have a most important responsibility to ensure accuracy of every detail in the said payment instrument before the payment instrument is approved, under the provisions of Financial Regulation 72 (refer to page 53).

With the assistance of a qualified quantity surveyor from the Ministry of Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal, we conducted a physical examination and cost estimation exercise on works projects executed in the Constituency by Council for the period under review. The exercise revealed some significant differences between “estimated cost” and “amount paid” pointing to wastage and possible fraud and embezzlement.

The instances of significant difference are outlined in the table below:

Project Name
Name of

Concrete     Section     of
Compoyettee Road
Could not locate
Road  Rehab     Lower
Enthia St.Brice
Community    Road    & Bridge at Delcer
Jimmy Haynes
Kerb & Slipper Drain
Mongouge West
Smith Peter
Could not locate
Footpath at Da Bans/La
Peter Phillip
Concrete Road at Dierre
Sylvester Regis
Drains  and  Culverts  at
Sylvester Regis
Could not locate
Retaining     Wall     and
Drain at Sauzay
Valeria Herman
Could not locate
Infrastructural Works on
Jetrine Playing Field
Wally St.Juste
Drain & Slips at La Perle
Wally St.Juste
Road Rehab – Gravel
Enthia Brice


b.   Conflict of Interest Bryan Charles

We noticed that Council issued a number of contracts to Bryan Charles during the time he served as the Deputy Chairman of the Council. We can confirm that he was paid a total amount of
$33,008.03 during the period. This is a violation of the principle, that Members of Council should not use their power and influence on Councils to further their personal interest.

ii.        Alleged Misappropriation of Moroccan Funds

The Choiseul Village Council received via wire transfer on the 5th October 2010, from the Morocco government the sum of Eight Hundred and Six Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy Eight Dollars and Thirty Eight Cents ($806,378.38) for the purpose of constructing a mini stadium at La Fargue. These monies were deposited in BOSL Account No.901215802, the same account in which funds from the Taiwanese Government was deposited.

According to records at the Council and further confirmation by Clerk of Council, a total amount of forty-four thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars ($44,750.00) has already been spent for topographic survey, architectural, civil and structural engineering fees. Consequently, there should be a balance of Seven Hundred and Sixty-one Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty-eight Dollars and Thirty-eight Cents ($761,628.38) of Moroccan Funds on the bank account.

It was duly noted that the balance on the said bank account as at 31st December 2011 was only five hundred and fifty-nine thousand, four hundred and ninety-six dollars and four cents ($559,496.04). If the balance is only Moroccan funds there is a difference of two hundred and two thousand one hundred and thirty-two dollars and thirty-four cents ($202,132.34).

This shows that an amount of two hundred and two thousand one hundred and thirty-two dollars and thirty-four cents ($202,132.34) was spent from the Morocco funds for purposes other than Construction of the Mini Stadium at La Fargue”.

This discrepancy will affect the future implementation of the project as funds will have to come from other sources to enable successful implementation.

iii.       Failure to Account for Foreign Currency Grants

Regulation 48 of the Financial Regulations Section 54, Finance (Administration) Act, Revised
Laws of St. Lucia, 2005 stipulates the following:

Whenever an officer or a person other than the Accountant General, a sub- accountant or a collector of revenue receives public money he or she shall as soon as possible pay it to the Accountant General or a sub-accountant or a collector of revenue and obtain a receipt for it.

According to records at the Council and confirmed by Clerk-of-Council, Council received the following amounts from Former Parliamentary Representative, Rufus Bousquet, in the form of
foreign-currency cheques during 2011:

Name of Drawer
Cheque No.

United Nations
Federal Credit Union
$US 10,000.00

United Nations
Federal Credit Union
$US 10,000.00

United Nations
Federal Credit Union
$US 7,500.00

Consulate General of
the Republic of
Kosovo in New York
Credit Transfer
$US 28,000.00


$US 55,500.00

When we interviewed Clerk of Council on that matter, she explained that all the foreign currency cheques were received and deposited in the BOSL bank account (# 901215802) by Former Parliamentary Representative and Former Minister of External Affairs, Rufus Bousquet. She was only informed of receipt of the funds by the Former Parliamentary Representative and that the Former Parliamentary Representative never revealed the source of the funds to her.

However, examination of electronic copies of relevant deposit slips submitted by BOSL revealed that US cheques 1036292, 1037086, 1039359 and 18978 were deposited by Clerk of Council, Williana St Rose and not Former Parliamentary Representative and Former Minister of External Affairs, Rufus Bousquet.

We examined relevant bank statements to ensure that these funds were indeed deposited in the said bank account. We were able to trace all the foreign currency cheque deposits in the bank account except cheque no.18978 dated 28/06/2011 for $US28,000.00. However, we noticed a credit was made to the account in the form of a “credit advice on 12/09/2011. The “credit advice was in the amount of $75,219.60, $50.00 (bank charges) below the Eastern Caribbean Dollar equivalent of $US28,000.00. We note that proceeds of the said cheque was credited to the Council’s bank account, seventy-three (73) days after the foreign currency cheque was reported to have been received.

These foreign currency cheques were never paid into the Accountant General as required by the Financial Regulations and all the amounts mentioned above were fully disbursed as part of total disbursements made from the bank account of the Council for the period. In addition, the source of the funds as it pertains to the cheques from the United Nations Federal Credit Union is still remains unknown.

The above is a clear violation of Financial Regulations 48 and poises serious questions about the integrity of source of funds.

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