Fayval Williams, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, speaking with Hotline host Emily Shields
Fayval Williams, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, has said it was the responsibility of the former permanent secretary in the ministry to identify the breach when approval was granted for six persons to proceed on early retirement and then rehired on contracts and paid significantly more.
The Auditor General report, which was tabled a week ago, showed that the six individuals, who were employees of the ministry went on retirement on April 30, 2018 and their re-engagement on one-year contracts took effect the same day.
The retirees were paid between 22 and 263 per cent more than their emoluments before early retirement.
When Mrs Williams was asked who would have had responsibility to prevent such an oversight, she told RJR's Hotline host Emily Shields she did not know as it was an issue she inherited from Dr. Andrew Wheatley, who was the previous minister.
Pressed further, she admitted she did not "have the documentation that named the person who signed off on it."
Chided by Mrs Shields about her answer, she pointed out that the accountable officer within ministries is the permanent secretary, therefore she believed that person should have picked up the discrepancy.
Mrs Williams also admitted that the move to rehire the six retired persons on contracts was a violation of guidelines under the early retirement programme.
"Early retirement was a very serous initiative...of the government in the quest to bring wage to GDP to the nine per cent. There were strict guidelines, they were communicated in terms of exactly how the programme was going to work and if you chose to take the early retirement, there were restrictions on whether or not you could be hired back," she explained.