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Jul 20, 2009

Missing pension funds could be much more than $250,000

Story PictureIt is five days since it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of dollars were missing from the Treasury department. The elaborate scheme began back in 2007 and while the initial amount missing was in the range of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, it is now said this figure could be much higher, as much as half a million dollars in pension funds deposited at the Atlantic Bank using legitimate names of pensioners. One government employee, Monica Escarpeta, was fingered from the onset and her name was confirmed to News Five last Thursday by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. She was suspended from duties immediately. That was back on July fifteenth. Last Friday, attorney Dickie Bradley, told News Five that Escarpeta had called on him and his legal advice to her was to hand herself in to the police.

Dickie Bradley, Attorney for Monica Escarpeta
“Well, the last time we spoke she sought advice and we made arrangements that she was prepared to come in and lay out this complicated matter that there is monies missing over a long period of time from the pension section of the Treasury Department. There are more than one persons who are working in the section, that her department put her on leave, the procedure of the government is that in fact they can send you on your leave, and that she was surprised to learn that nobody else had been sent on forced leave, that her department made a formal report to the Police Department about the matter that cheques had been made and that government monies are missing. She was wondering why is it that only she is being singled out when there are others who are in fact involved in transactions and it is over a period. That was some of the answers I can say to you. So clearly if there’s a problem with the cheques whoever handles the cheques has to be a suspect. That would be the normal course of things. As to whether who done it I can’t speculate on that part.”

Escarpeta has not been seen or heard from since the news broke and it is alleged she has since flown the coop. Escarpeta neighbors on Fabers Road could throw no light on her whereabouts and News Five found her house locked up today. Another person, Karen Young, who was being questioned by police, was released also last Friday. The Accountant General, Dorothy Bradley, was busy all day in meetings in Belmopan and could was not available for comment. No one else in Belmopan would talk on this issue. Police would only comment they are investigating. So for now the exact amount of missing monies is still not determined and the main suspect is eluding the police.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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