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Maureen Dwyer to assume role as acting permanent secretary in Education Ministry

Professor Trevor Munroe, Principal Director of NIA
 
Maureen Dwyer, Chief Inspector in the National Education Inspectorate, will on Thursday (October 14) assume responsibilities as Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Youth and Information.
 
A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister says Acting Permanent Secretary Dr. Grace McLean will proceed on leave in light of the Auditor General's report concerning fiduciary and related issues at the Education Ministry and the investigations being pursued. 
 
It said Dr. McLean's leave will ensure there is no hindrance, real or perceived, to the course of the investigations.
 
The Government said it anticipates that the investigations will be thorough and expeditious.
 
The Parliamentary Opposition had earlier called for Dr. McLean to step aside while investigations are conducted into the transfer of more than $100 million and activities which took place while she was Chief Education Officer.
 
An Auditor General report tabled on Tuesday called for the police or an anti-corruption agency to conduct a probe following the transfer of $124 million by the Ministry of Education to the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education under questionable circumstances.
 
A Gleaner probe earlier this year also raised questions about Dr. McLean's role in the oversight of two programmes - the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) and the Centre of Occupational Studies (COS).
 
According to the Gleaner, Dr. McLean was responsible for CAP and COS, which had partnered with the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education.
 
Questions about the award of contracts and conflicts of interest in relation to the programmes prompted Education Minister Fayval Williams to ask the Auditor General's Department to expand its investigation of the ministry to include those programmes.
 
When contacted on Wednesday afternoon, Cecil Cornwall, Chairman of the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education, told Radio Jamaica News he was advised by his attorney not to speak on the developments regarding the JCTE.
 
Hold people responsible 
 
National Integrity Action (NIA) has said those responsible for wrongfully transferring the $124 million from the Ministry of Education to the JCTE should reimburse the money to the public coffers.
 
Professor Trevor Munroe, Principal Director of NIA, said it is unacceptable that over the last six years, no responsible officer has been required to pay back taxpayers' money spent in breach of the law. 
 
"At a time when taxpayers are suffering and the government is struggling to find funds to provide care for those who are under pressure in the pandemic, those who continue to offend proper administration of our bodies need to pay back what they have improperly spent, in accordance with the law," he declared.
 
Professor Munroe said situations like these "cannot be allowed to continue" and suggested the public "call for appropriate sanctions to be applied". 
 


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