Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Featured, People & Places, Politics » $2.2 Million in Questionable Spending at Julian Cho Technical School
Jan 17, 2020

$2.2 Million in Questionable Spending at Julian Cho Technical School

An audit of the National Sports Council for a one-year period showed the blatant disregard for government financial regulations and suspected fraud of huge sums of money. That audit was tabled today in the House of Representatives and so was the Julian Cho High School Special Audit. In this case, acting on a complaint from a whistle blower, the Accountant General covered the period April 2014 to September 2016 uncovering that more than a whopping two point two million dollars were issued in contracts, largely to teachers, which did not comply with the Finance and Audit Reform Act.   A number of items were also purchased without approval from the Ministry of Education in a period when Simon Coc, the U.D.P. Standard Beater for Toledo West, was the principal. That particular high school has been in the news constantly because the Board has not agreed on a principal. Here is News Five’s Hipolito Novelo with a report.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The Auditor General’s report on Julian Cho Technical High School for the period April 2014 to September 2016 is ninety-two pages. It was presented to Prime Minister Dean Barrow on October twenty-third, 2019 so one can assume that the Minister of Finance was aware that contracts for works issued by the administration of the high school totaling more than two point two million dollars did not comply with the Finance and Audit Reform Act.

According to the report, in some instances, numerous contracts were awarded to staff members of the institutions. It says that vehicles and computers were purchased without the Ministry’s approval.

A further look at the audit reveals that for the period in revision, two million, two hundred and thirty thousand and eighty-four dollars and eighty cents were incurred on Capital Works, services and equipment for the high school. The contracts, which were not tendered, were issued to teachers employed by the institution. The majority of the contracts were not drawn up. Contracts awarded were never submitted to the Contractor General. Principal Dr. Simon Coc, the U.D.P. Standard Beater for Toledo West, was interviewed about the contracts.  He said that he was not aware of the requirements for contracts. Contracts to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars were issued for classroom buildings to teachers. Table (B) shows the list of teachers who received contracts without vetting of the Contractor General. Raymond Coleman received two contracts totaling one hundred and twenty-three thousand dollars for the construction of a student center and a classroom. Francisco Recinos received more than seven hundred thousand dollars for the sixth classroom project. Thurman Selgado received forty-four thousand dollars, Oliver Garay, received a total of sixty-two thousand dollars, and Regino Hernandez received twenty thousand dollars. Then there are the works contracted for which contracts were not drawn or vetted by the Contractor General. The list is as long as twelve. Francisco Recinos received a total of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. Regino Hernandez received more than fifty thousand dollars. Franz Weiler received one hundred and six thousand dollars for roadway construction.  Herald Usher received sixty-five thousand dollars, Jesus Itch received twenty-six thousand and Peter Fehr received twenty-nine thousand dollars for infrastructural works at the school. Tens of thousands of dollars in contracts were awarded without certification. Payment vouchers were signed by Principal Cho, approving the disbursements of funds. According to the audit, Francisco Recinos received a total of one point one million dollars for works at the school. The works were poorly done. In classroom six, the roof leaks. The vice-principal Winston Lopez received twelve thousand dollars for IT supplies and Derick Borland received one hundred and four thousand dollars for IT supplies and services. Vehicle and computers were purchased without the approval of the Ministry of Finance. Software installed on the computers included violent games such as Need for Speed, Halo and Delta Force.

Fuel totaling almost sixty-thousand dollars was purchased over two years without the particulars of vehicle registration numbers. Teachers were given advances in salary without proper documentation.  The audit also shows that three cell phones for Principal Coc and two vices principals were purchased at twelve thousand dollars each.

Under the administration of Coc, the audit revealed a significant unaccounted expenditure of more than two million dollars. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.


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.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed