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Leader of the Opposition and People’s National Congress (PNCR), Mr. Aubrey Norton, at his press conference last Thursday, addressed allegations made by former Treasurer, Faaiz Mursaline, about the operation of the party’s treasury and racial hostility by a leading party member.
Mursaline in a letter dated December 31, 2022 to members of the Central Executive Committee (CEC), expressed several concerns about the party’s financial management. Included among those are the signing of blank cheques and being unaware of the amount of money on the cheques and what the money was used for. He also said a senior member in the party, of African descent, was hostile towards Indian members.
Norton said Mursaline never raised with him “the question of racism in the Party.”
Addressing the issue of signing blank cheques, Norton admitted to this with explanation. According to the party leader “it is true that the Treasurer signed blank cheques as one of two signatories” and this was done on Mursaline’s agreement because he did not come to Georgetown daily.
Mursaline in his letter shared that at one time, i.e., November 2022, he signed 20 blank cheques.
Signing blank cheques is not an accepted practice in accounting, an accountant told Village Voice. According to the accountant, every written cheque must be supported with the appropriate documentation that outlines the sum paid and the description of the transaction.
Norton told the press when Mursaline visited the party’s headquarters, i.e., Congress Place, he would ask if there were cheques to be signed and when the final signatory signed “this is done with the accompanying paperwork in keeping with good financial practices. So, it is untrue to say there is no paperwork.”
The accountant said supporting documents must be in place before any signature is affixed to the cheque. Further, “having read Mr. Norton’s explanation, it is safe to surmise the party is not adhering to prudent financial management.”
However, Norton assured otherwise by stating the party is involved in “good financial practices.”
Turning attention to Mursaline’s recommendation for Ms. Volda Lawrence, a senior party member, to serve as an advisor, Norton admitted the proposal was made. He however stated Mursaline was advised Lawrence’s appointment “may be a conflict of interest” and “Article 16 (4) of the [PNCR] Constitution states that, ‘The General Council shall appoint an auditor at the first meeting after the Biennial Delegates Congress.’”
This publication was informed the Party did not appoint an auditor “at its first meeting after the Biennial Delegates Congress.” Norton was elected party leader in December 2021. Village Voice was also reliably informed that for more than a year the party has been without an auditor.
The former treasurer stated he stands by his letter of December 31, 2022.
Meanwhile, this publication was informed that Mursaline, who resigned as treasurer last month, was summoned by Norton to a meeting on Monday. Insiders believe the meeting is an effort at damage control. A party elder told Village Voice this is an unfortunate situation which should be corrected immediately. “I have been a longstanding member of the PNC for more than fifty years and have never seen or heard something like this before.”