Gov’t looking at fuel usage

Officials at the Department of Vehicle Equipment and Services said there could be some abuses of the re-fuelling facility by employees of various government departments.

The Department is urging all government department officers to be vigilant about ensuring fuel management and control systems within respective agencies.

DVES Director Dale Dacres said he would not know of any particular infractions as he is always paid for the fuel any government department takes.

‘The burden is on the heads of respective departments to safeguard against abuse,’ he said.

Currently government employees use cards equipped with personal identification codes similar to ATM cards. This system means that Department of Vehicle Equipment and Services officials are aware of gas sold and where it goes.

However, Mr. Dacres said it is important that department heads use the data submitted by the DVES to make sure all the numbers add up for the benefit of the government and all.

Employees at the station said it would be presumptuous of them to assume wrongly or question customers who may be purchasing the service. However, it was stated in a memo written by Mr. Dacres and circulated throughout the Civil Service recently that officers responsible within government agencies should emphasise compliance and control with rules and regulations.

Some guidelines offered to officers included comparing current and monthly purchases, whilst analyzing trends, as well as ensuring a correct odometer reading is being entered.

Fuel being dispensed in containers is also a concern and this area required more detailed monitoring and checks to confirm official use.

These comments come on the heels of a special report by the auditor general reviewing gasoline charges at Pedro St. James.

Commissioned by Tourism Attraction Board CEO Gilbert Connolly, the report found that there were abuses of the site’s account at the Savannah Texaco StarMart. However, the report concluded that there was no evidence of fraud being committed or intended.

Several recommendations have been made and actions have been taken at Pedro St. James, according to Mr. Connolly.

Among these included a directive issued to the general manager at the historical site to repay CI$3,869. This was the amount, in excess, of the vehicle allowance he should have received for the period investigated.

‘The general manager at Pedro has been formally reprimanded and served with a written warning,’ Mr. Connolly said.

He added that this warning included a condition stating that any repeat of unauthorized charges to the Pedro account would result in termination of his employment.

Mr. Dacres said though he was not aware of any specific instances of misuse, the Department was taking a ‘prevention before cure approach.’