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Aug 10, 2018

CitCo Contemplates Suing Over ‘Unaccounted’ Equipment

Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner is back in the country. He returned today after spending some days in London for the Jalsa Salana Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. We’ll tell you about his trip later but first, we spoke to the mayor about the recent controversy involving heavy duty equipment and Minister Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez. As we reported earlier in the week, a special audit report conducted into the Works Department of the Council revealed that a John Deer tractor, a Caterpillar bulldozer and a flatbed trailer were physically missing from the council’s list of fixed assets. The equipment was part of a grant afforded to the council in 2014.  So for almost four years, these three vehicles were missing and no one knew where they were, despite queries to the Financial Secretary.  During this time, the council had to rent equipment. When the audit report became public, it turned out that Minister Martinez decided to make some calls after which the Caterpillar Bulldozer and the flatbed trailer were finally turned over to the Council. As to the John Deer Tractor; that is in the Cayo District being repaired and according to Mayor Wagner, a lawsuit might be filed against the person who was in possession of the equipment.

 

Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“The Government gave the equipment to the council. They have not been in our books since 2015. No one at the prior council felt it necessary to pursue where those equipment were. So when we assumed office we did a complete inventory of all equipment and thankfully we are really streamlining how our inventory looks and how we ensure and put in place the processes to monitor equipment. The other one I was made to understand is somewhere in Cayo being repaired to that extent but we will continue to pursue it. We will pursue it. It will not be left out there. We want to assure all the Belize City residents we will not left any stones un-turn until we get that next equipment back to City Hall.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Mayor, Minister ‘Boots’ Martinez has denied any kind of involvement. He says it has absolutely nothing to do with him although he knew where to call to find it. Have you guys figured out too whom these pieces of equipment were licensed to?”

 

Bernard Wagner

“We are still investigating those. I was made to understand that the young man received the equipment the night. These pieces of equipment were put in front of his property during the course of the night. The registrations of the equipment were not through the city council it was done through the other arm, Transport. So we have to look at that also. The fact is that those equipment never reached the council. They have depreciated so we are even looking to counter sue on this matter.”

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