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Aug 6, 2018

3 Vehicles ‘Unaccounted’ for by Belize CitCo

A Special Audit Inspection was conducted into what is being described as ‘unaccountable equipment’ belonging to the Belize City Council. The special audit was requested by the Councilor responsible for Works, Albert Vaughn and the missing equipment include a fifty-four thousand-dollar John Deer tractor, an eighty-six thousand dollars Caterpillar bulldozer and a thirty thousand dollars flatbed trailer. These three vehicles are listed as fixed assets, but according to the audit, the equipment was never delivered to the city council. The audit revealed that the vehicles formed part of a fleet of equipment which was reportedly granted to the Belize City Council by central government in 2015. Interestingly, no one who works at the City Council has any documents or knowledge of the existence of the vehicles, which appear to have disappeared into thin air.  The few people who should know about the equipment say they cannot remember or have taken the stance that whatever they do remember is considered above their position.  The external auditors conducted their investigations for the period April 2014 to March 2015 and several persons were interviewed including Marilyn Ordonez, the Director of Financial Services for the City Council. According to Ordonez, Minister Anthony “Boots” Martinez had a meeting with Prime Minister Barrow early 2014 as it relates to the acquisition of equipment.  Works Manager Ramon Menjivar was also interviewed and according to the audit report, Menjivar recalled that the equipment was first parked at mile three on the George Price highway on a piece of land reportedly owned by Minister Martinez. Menjivar said that he recommended that the equipment be parked at CitCo’s compound at mile four and a half, but that was not done. Menjivar then directed the audit team to Vehicle Care Supervisor Joseph Lawrence, who is currently writing up a report. In an effort to understand what, if any arrangements were made with respect to the vehicles, emails were sent to the Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight.  The most recent email was sent on July second, 2018.  Like the previous emails, this email went unanswered too. We asked Minister Martinez for comment and a few minutes ago he told us that he will read the audit report and comment on Tuesday.

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