PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar. 20, (CMC) – The police have launched a criminal investigation into allegations of fraud and misconduct, leveled against former Cabinet minister, Marlene McDonald.
This was announced by Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, yesterday .
McDonald, the Port of Spain South Member of Parliament and former Minister of Housing and Urban Development, has been accused of breaching parliamentary rules when she hired relatives to work in her constituency office.
During a symposium at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine campus yesterday, Williams was asked to provide the areas to be looked at during the investigation, however, he only stated that his “open day for media” was Wednesdays and he would only provide further information at that time.
McDonald, who was fired on Thursday, had come under intense pressure after the chairman of the non-government organisation, Fixin T&T, Kirk Waithe, claimed that she had, as far back as 2008, abused her ministerial power to facilitate a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) home for her husband, Michael Carew.
While the Integrity Commission had investigated the matter and cleared her of the allegation, Waite said, he had obtained new information and called on the body to re-open the probe.
Last week, Waithe said, he also received information from the Parliament, which showed that Carew and a director of the Calabar Foundation was employed at the Housing Minister’s Port-of-Spain South constituency office for five years, while Carew’s brother, Lennox Carew, still worked at the MP’s office.
Carew, who worked at the office from June 1, 2010 to September 7, 2015, earned the second highest salary on the constituency payroll for the full parliamentary term.
Lennox Carew, began working in the office on March 1, 2011 and has been in receipt of the highest salary out of 13 people working in the office.
The Parliament pays the salaries of all employees in the 41 constituency offices.
McDonald, who also served as Community Development Culture and Gender Affairs Minister in a Patrick Manning administration, has denied the allegations.
McDonald has been replaced by former Public Administration Minister and San Fernando East MP, Randall Mitchell.