Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis said yesterday there is no evidence suggesting there is fraud associated with the distribution of food cards in the Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah district.
Area Representative and Assistant Secretary Sheldon Cunningham made the accusations, earlier this week, saying one of his PNM colleagues was distributing food cards in his area without the proper process and documentation.
Speaking at the post-Executive Council news conference on Wednesday, Dennis said he spoke with Cunningham as soon as he was made aware of the situation. He said, Cunningham gave him some information, which was verified, but added that so far there is no evidence to suggest anything corrupt.
“I spoke with the Secretary of Finance. I also spoke to an individual who was in receipt of a food card and so far I have found there is no evidence to suggest that the process was fraudulent or corrupt in any way. I, at this time, await further information so that I can ask the Secretary to furnish me with the necessary information to verify these claims,” he said.
Dennis said he was convinced that the THA has the necessary measures to guard against fraud.
“I am assured and convinced that we do have the checks and balances in place to ensure that each food card given to any individual, is supported by an application form and in addition to that, no individual receives two and three food cards,” he said.
Questioned on if Cunningham would be disciplined or held accountable for his utterances, Dennis said there was no intention to do so.
“I said the initial information suggests to me that there is no issue at all with the distribution of food cards and how it was done. I asked him to provide me with additional information if there is any and I still await that information. There is no intention to discipline Mr Cunningham at this time by me,” he said
Dennis said, the THA food card was a one-use card and given the current situation with COVID-19, arrangements have been made for resubmission of applications one month after the card has been utilised. He said the situation would continue for three months if the situation remains the same and would be extended, to give the necessary support to the people of Tobago.