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Aug 29, 2018

Minister of Culture Patrick Faber Refutes Allegations Made Against Sapna Budhrani

Sapna Budhrani

This Thursday, the Board of Directors of NICH will be breaking its silence on the conundrum President Sapna Budhrani finds herself in.  On Monday we revealed the results of an internal audit which found a multitude of financial irregularities, unaccounted monies and excessive spending on fuel and vehicles, all which portrayed a level of mismanagement.  The issue played out in cabinet on Tuesday and she was promptly placed on suspension and an external audit was ordered.  Budhrani’s boss, the Minister of Education and Culture, Patrick Faber, has put himself on the line in support of her, but there are lingering questions of whether she can handle the job for which she was appointed without cabinet approval.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Since coming under fire last Tuesday from Music Ambassador Shyne Barrow, President of the National Institute of Culture and History, Sapna Budhrani, remains under intense public scrutiny.  The disclosure of information leaked to the media, first published by News Five on Monday, pertaining to the findings of an internal audit, places Budhrani at the epicenter of a scandal that is brewing at NICH.  A check of its financial accounts by in-house auditor Roberto Matus shows a number of irregularities that took place prior to Budhrani being appointed president, as well as discrepancies reported during a three-month period after taking over the helm of the statutory body.  Those so-called indiscretions range from missing monies at NICH-managed archaeological sites and concert events to a questionable vehicle purchase and fuel consumption.

Patrick Faber

In Budhrani’s corner from the onset has been Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber.  Without Cabinet’s approval, Budhrani was elevated to the post of president by Faber, who is also Minister of Culture.  On August twenty-third, he went on record to defend Budhrani’s reputation, in light of allegations made against her.  Faber has even gone as far as pretty much stating that an indictment against Budhrani is an indictment against him.  Despite the ensuing controversy, he has stood firmly by her side.  On Tuesday, the issue of the leaked memos between Matus and Finance Officer Edwin Alvarado were discussed in the context of Budhrani’s management of NICH.  While Faber vouched for her in the presence of his Cabinet colleagues, it was near-unanimously agreed that Budhrani should be placed on leave with immediate effect, pending the outcome of an external audit.

In speaking with News Five earlier today, Deputy Prime Minister Faber provided insight on what has been taking place at NICH, admitting that while the organization has had its share of financial troubles, it has been doing well under Budhrani’s leadership.  Similarly, he addressed the issue of fuel consumption, informing that prior to receiving an assigned vehicle; the fuel card issued to Budhrani was used to fuel a private vehicle which he says is nothing unlawful.  In respect of the purchase of the late-model Honda CRV, Faber says that there was no vehicle for a NICH president at the time when Budhrani took office.

From a political perspective, the situation looks bad, particularly since it paints a picture that there has been gross negligence and wrongdoing at NICH under the Deputy Prime Minister’s watch.  But is it all the result of an intra-party row among members of the ruling United Democratic Party?  A press conference called by embattled NICH President Sapna Budhrani will be held on Thursday morning at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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3 Responses for “Minister of Culture Patrick Faber Refutes Allegations Made Against Sapna Budhrani”

  1. BJones says:

    The missing Hilux, which Farber driver received, even though he’s not an employee of NICH, could have been used by the new president, instead of her spending $60k.

  2. Fungus says:

    Ofcourse he got her back, he has a big pocket full of money from this theft too…and he gets to eat her out…raw news only in belize, tell it as it is minister..

  3. El tio says:

    Why on earth that ugly fool farber the talk. He Da d biggest crook for the udp

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