-by Kurt Campbell-
The Ministry of Education has sent Special Projects Officer, Rabindra Kishun on administrative leave to facilitate an investigation into the construction of the Kato Secondary School in Region Eight after an audit highlighted a number of discrepancies.
However, the decision to send Mr. Kishun on leave has stirred controversy within the Buildings Unit at the Ministry with several staff members left feeling uneasy about the security of their own tenure.
News Source understands that Kishun has been replaced by Victor Graham, who was one of the consultants contracted by the former PPP Government to overlook the construction of the school.
Staffers said that the decision to replace the Senior Projects Officer with someone who should be equally responsible for the structural faults at the school sends a “frightening signal.”
One staff member of the Unit who opted to remain anonymous explained Graham was hired by the Ministry as an engineer several months after the APNU+AFC government took office.
“He started to call himself the Chief Engineer and even said he was the godson of the Minister and even went as far as to send out official’s documents with Chief engineer title without being appointed or receiving a contract,” the staff said.
It is the belief of employees that Graham was being pushed by someone in higher authority for a senior position within the Unit.
“He was very insubordinate and didn’t attend meetings or take instructions and would give people contracts without proper protocol,” The staff further related.
Graham’s push for a senior position was further realized when he was appointed Special Projects Officer and Kishun was sent on leave a few weeks ago.
Graham has denied the allegations leveled against him and has promised to set the record straight when he speaks to News Source in more detail on Wednesday.
News Source understands that Kishun was asked to proceed on leave one day after he returned from his 73 days annual vacation leave.
“We don’t understand this appointment when Graham was the consultant that worked with the contracting firm on Kato.”
Copies of minutes at the Ministry of Education showed that Graham attended several meetings on the school’s construction as a Consultant for Design Consultancy Services Limited.
When contacted and asked whether he was sent on leave to facilitate the investigation, Kishun said “yes, but I don’t want to talk about it. I really don’t want to talk about it.”
When news of the defects in the structure of the school was first made public and the audit was concluded the government had said that the findings on the school revealed nothing less than criminal.
The audit was prepared by Rodrigues Architects Limited and addressed structural assessment, building defects and contract administration and highlighted a number of discrepancies in all sections.
Kares Engineering had won the contract for the construction of the school, which when it opened its doors, would have allowed for universal secondary education in the region.
Construction of the school started in 2013 under the previous administration and was scheduled to be opened in January 2016.
This was delayed following the discovery of the defects.