Guyana: NCN in hot water for paying OP’s phantom bloggers

Cash-strapped NCN in hot water for paying OP’s phantom bloggers

Kwame McCoy

Kwame Mc Coy

June 3, 2015 | By KNews |  Some of the persons hired to work in a shadowy unit reportedly spearheaded by Kwame Mc Coy, former Press Liaison of the Office of the President, were not even stationed there, as shocking details continue to emerge over the extent of the abuse of state resources under the previous Government.

On Monday, almost two dozen persons were given letters ending their services by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, after it became clear that they were tasked with doing political, propaganda work for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).  

According to officials of the Ministry of the Presidency (formerly OP) yesterday, investigations revealed that many of the persons were paid from accounts of the Presidential Secretariat and from state agencies, like the National Communications Network (NCN) so as not to raise eyebrows over the amounts. Some were even operating from their homes.

The two dozen contract employees were left in limbo after the PPP/C lost the May 11 General and Regional Elections.

Questioned by officials at the Ministry of the Presidency, one of the contracted employees who was among the few from the secretive unit stationed at OP, admitted that he was tasked with preparing invoices for persons who did not work at OP but had permanent jobs elsewhere.
OP was also billed for work done. Some were collecting up to $22,000 per fortnight from NCN. It is unclear how much they were collecting from OP.

They were tasked with monitoring the local newspapers for letters and articles criticizing Government and countering. However, the more popular ones included going online to Facebook and launching attacks on persons who made comments that were negative to PPP/C.

“In other words, the people of Guyana were paying for people to go online and surf Facebook,” a source close to the investigations at the Ministry of the Presidency said yesterday.
Over the last year, the phantom workers, who included relatives of a former senior Minister and a Parliamentarian from Berbice who works at NCN, went after personalities including Kaieteur News columnist Freddie Kissoon and Publisher Glenn Lall.

They would also single out controversial projects that were under scrutiny by the Opposition and defend them. Many of them reportedly created Facebook accounts using fake names and were tasked with preparing reports of their work to Mc Coy.

“As of now, we are not sure how much monies were being paid and which other ministries were doing the paying. What we do know is that this scenario is precisely why we were raising issues over contract employees. We can’t have people working and we don’t know what they are doing. This is criminal.”

The phantom unit and the payments from NCN has also raised questions over the role played by that state entity in issuing payments, despite knowing that the contract workers were not stationed there.

“We are looking at the entire operations of NCN and it is operating in a deficit and yet it found monies to pay these phantom bloggers.”

A few years ago, NCN told Parliament that it was grossing almost $500M annually in revenues but wanted a subsidy to help it through.
Under the description for payments, most of two dozen or so contract employees were described as ‘Work Processor Operator’.

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  • De castro  On 06/04/2015 at 6:14 am

    Find them try them convict them and jail them.

    War on corruption is way forward
    It will take strong leadership to turn things around.
    New Laws must be passed ASAP so that courts have the powers
    necessary to “discourage” “eradicate” corruption at every level in Guyana s society.
    Cheating stealing is not smart……its downright “dishonest”…..

    Wake up Guyana wake up Guyanese or die in your silent slumber.
    Its 2015……

    Action not words please😈

  • E Joseph  On 06/21/2015 at 1:14 pm

    Correct and to the point. It will be a long road back to the Guyana I once knew.

  • de castro  On 06/23/2015 at 12:05 am

    My friend no war is won without a struggle….
    Am optimistic for Guyanese next two is their future.

    Que sera

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