(No. B/788) Mr R. Uteem (First Member for Port
Louis South & Port Louis Central) asked the
Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific
Research whether, in regard to the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre, she will state
if she is aware of allegations of abuse of power and of corruption thereat and,
if so, indicate the actions, if any, taken in relation thereto by her Ministry.
Madam Speaker, my Ministry received an anonymous letter making representations
against a few staff members of the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre regarding work
related problems, but not on abuse of power or corruption as such. An internal
audit was carried out and certain weaknesses were noted in the Administrative
and Procurement Sections which were mainly as a result of a shortage of staff.
Officers were often called upon to carry out multiple tasks for administrative
convenience and smooth conduct of operations.
it was noted that there was no proper segregation of duties in the
Administrative and Procurement Sections. Recommendations were made for the
recruitment of additional staff to remedy the situation. Actions were taken
accordingly. I am informed that 13 key posts have been filled after a
arrangement has been made for an Assistant Manager, Financial Operations from the
Ministry of Education to provide support and guidance to the Rajiv Gandhi
Science Centre on HR matters. Guidelines on basic financial principles have
also been forwarded to the Centre for proper financial procedures to be
problems identified, Madam Speaker, were mostly on Operational Management due
to interpersonal conflicts and now that the recruitment of staff has already
been effected, these issues, I am informed have already been addressed. The
situation is going to be monitored.
Madam Speaker: Hon. Uteem!
Mr Uteem: Thank you,
Madam Speaker. The hon. Minister just mentioned an internal report. So, would
the hon. Minister be prepared to table a copy of that internal report?
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: I
have no problem doing so, Madam Speaker.
Mr Uteem: The hon.
Minister mentioned administrative issues. Is she aware that for almost 10
years, a Confidential Secretary has been doing the job of an Administrative
Officer? So, for 10 years, they did not advertise and that Administrative
Officer, contrary to the PRB Report, was given a full salary instead of a
partial allowance as recommended by PRB Report.
Madam Speaker, I have been informed by the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre that
officers were asked to do several tasks and very often, they had to do overtime
due a shortage of staff and when this was noted through the internal audit,
actions were taken for the filling of post and that person has been required to
do the job for which she was appointed.
Madam Speaker: Yes, hon.
Mr Uteem: Has the
attention of the hon. Minister also been drawn to the fact that solar
sunglasses which were supposed to be sold at Rs25 on the day of the eclipse
were actually sold for Rs50 and the difference was never accounted for? So, all
the school children who went to the Rajiv Gandhi Centre to watch the eclipse
had to pay twice the amount which the Board had budgeted for and this is one of
the complaints made to ICAC.
Madam Speaker, I was not aware of that particular point, but I am going to look
Madam Speaker: Hon.
Mr Baloomoody: Coming back to
that Confidential Secretary, may we know from the hon. Minister her
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: I
don’t think I have it with me, Madam Speaker.
Mr Uteem: A last
Madam Speaker: Next question,