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Leak documents reveal questionable financial transactions by PUC

One hundred and sixty-seven files have been leaked to the media showing questionable financial transactions made by the Public Utilities Commission, PUC. The documents date back to 2012 and it includes financial statements, budgets, minutes of meetings and a report sent to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, Dean Barrow. Our team is still reviewing the hundreds of pages contained in the documents and tonight we take a look at some of the most glaring and questionable financial transactions. One of the most recent documents is dated August 11, 2017, and it is a letter addressed to the Chairman of the PUC John Avery. The letter was reportedly sent by Certified Public Accountant, Cedric Flowers and its reference is to financial statements of the PUC for the year ended March 31, 2017. We called Avery for a comment on the leaked files and he kept repeating that he cannot comment on documents he has not seen. He said that he has heard similar reports in other sections of the media and said those reports are inaccurate. A portion of the letter speaks to unapproved donations stating quote, “We noted over $50,000 in donations for which we found no evidence of approval by the Commission. We are seeking specific representation that those donations were properly authorized by the Commission.” End of quote. We pressed Avery on this specific statement but he would not deny or confirm it. The letter also alleges that the PUC has been withholding taxes. The letter states quote, “We note that the Commission has not withheld and paid income taxes, as required by law, in respect of bonuses and gratuities.” End of quote. The letter also makes some serious allegations with regards to credit card payments. It states quote, “We noted over $70,000 in expenditures for credit card purchases which were either unsupported or lacked appropriate support. We saw no request or authorization for those expenditures before the transactions were initiated. Additionally, several of the expenditures were of a nature which did not appear to have any direct relationship to the activities of the PUC. We urge an immediate review of the PUC’s policy for credit card usage and an evaluation of whether the card is needed by the PUC. We have also requested specific representation in respect of the unsupported expenditures and that amounts paid for expenditures of a personal nature have been or will be reimbursed to the PUC.” End of quote. Again, Avery would not further comment on the leaked documents but only saying that the documents might or might not be legitimate. As we said, the documents include hundreds of pages containing large dollar figures and serious allegations of misappropriations of funds. We will have more on this major leak in our subsequent newscast.