Mrs. Vashta Brown Okplauwaekee, dismissed
as Director of Procurement at the Ministry of Gender and Development, has accused authorities at that ministry of failure to ensure public procurement procedures mandated by government.Mrs. Okpalauwaekee recently claimed on a local talk show that Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell failed to observe a PPCC requirement for a renovation contract signed between the MGD and the Bazzi Brothers involving a US$76,000.PPCC is a government commission responsible to monitor procurement contracts of government agencies and line ministries for office materials and equipment.But Mrs. Okpalauwaekee claimed that Minister Duncan-Cassell and other officials at the Gender ministry failed to observe PPCC requirements, and suggested that that she was dismissed for being critical about issues at the ministry.Minister Duncan-Cassell denied the allegation, saying: “I did not fire her, instead she fired herself”., Minister Cassell responding to a questions from journalists at a press conference at the Ministry of Gender on Monday, July 2, 2012, clarified. “When we took over like any other administration, we decided to do an assessment of the various departments within the Ministry and following the end of that assessment, Mrs. Opkalauwaekee was among personnel transferred to the M$E Department. She refused to come to work for over three weeks without any written communication regarding her stay away from job and this is how she was dismissed in accordance with the Civil Service rules and standing order.” When contacted, the director of communications at the PPCC, Mr. Bilton Bengu could not confirm or deny Mrs. Opkaluwaekee’s claim. Instead, he promised to speak to New Democrat after the commission concluded investigating the matter.