Chief Executive Officer (Ag) of Guyana Power and Light (GPL), Colin Welch, has clashed with the corporation’s Loss Reduction Division over the misconduct of a technician and an investigator.
According to documents seen by Kaieteur News, the division sought to institute disciplinary proceedings against the employees, who allegedly engaged in corrupt transactions while on duty. This was after the division would have conducted their own extensive investigations into the wrongdoing.
It is understood that the technician was fired from GPL a few years ago for multiple cases of similar wrongdoing. However, Welch has recommended that the two implicated employees be reinstated.
Welch has based his defence on the findings of GPL’s Human Resources (HR) Department, who had recommended that the technician be reinstated. However, Loss Reduction has pointed out that HR’s report was flawed.
It is understood that the technician, Adrian Bacchus, and a Loss Reduction investigator, Donald Downer, were under investigation for collecting some $100,000 from customer, Ramlochan Narine on September 1, last.
It is alleged that Bacchus and Downer visited the man’s residence and solicited the money after accusing him of tampering with his post paid meter. The man reportedly then paid the money to Downer, in the presence of Bacchus.
The matter was uncovered after police got wind of the transaction and questioned the customer. He was interrogated by police at the Timehri Police station and he subsequently reported the bribe to Loss Reduction’s office on September 3. In the fallout Bacchus was suspended.
Despite being suspended, Bacchus was reported to have become embroiled in further controversy. In late September, Bacchus was said to have “straight connected” the post paid meter of a personal friend, Ajadha Harrichand, upon request.
After the transaction was revealed, the friend is said to have tried to cover for Bacchus. Harrichand, under interrogation, changed his story several times. After being requested several times to visit the Loss Prevention office, Harrichand finally refused.
In the fallout, GPL’s senior management removed Harrichand’s line and meter, had him backbilled over $166,000 and hit him with a reconnection and investigation fee of $13,000. He was also required to lodge a six-month security deposit before reconnection.
Welch, who took over from former GPL CEO Bharat Dindyal in August, has been embroiled in multiple controversies since being appointed as acting CEO in late August.