Two weeks ago, the Corozal Town Council, under the leadership of Mayor Rigoberto Vellos, released a nine-page financial report. The report focuses on the spending timeline of the previous town council and according to Mayor Vellos; there were gross mismanagement and negligence under former Mayor Hilberto Campos. Part of the audit report speaks of the town’s former revenue collector, Oscar Garcia. According to Mayor Vellos, Garcia reportedly withheld thousands of dollars from the council.
Rigoberto Vellos, Mayor, Corozal Town
“Basically sixty-seven percent were not recovered from trade license. So how many businesses were operating out there and these guys were spending, spending money and not going to where they need to go to survive. So it makes you wonder how it is that they were surviving. In January 2014, the Ministry of Local Government wrote the Office of the Auditor General to report of “monies held back from the council”. From the minutes of the council meeting dated twenty-seventh, January 2015, it is revealed that Oscar Garcia, Revenue Manager at the Corozal Town Council had failed to turn in a total of forty-two thousand, seven hundred nineteen dollars and forty-nine cents which were revenue collected for the council. Oscar Garcia resigned from the council after he made a payment of fifteen thousand, five hundred eighty dollars and the remaining balance owed is twenty-six thousand, one hundred thirty-nine dollars and forty-nine cents. Now, where is Mr. Oscar Garcia? He remains out of the country. The previous administration sought to minimize the fraud as a “little misappropriation” showing what little regard for tax payer’s money the past council had. ”
According to Mayor Vellos, the former Town Administrator Estella Campos should have been held accountable for such gross negligence.
Former Corozal Council Gives Employee Dump Truck as Payment for ‘Vacation Leave’
As it relates to assets and inventory, Mayor Vellos says that one of the first tasks the council undertook upon assuming office is to review the possessions of the council. The task proved difficult as the council was not able to locate an asset register. Therefore, the council could not determine the fixed assets that it owns and their corresponding depreciation charges. The council did, however, manage to compile a list of assets that are unaccounted for.
Rigoberto Vellos, Mayor, Corozal Town
“Upon checking the B.T.L. telephone bills, it was found out that three cell phones had been purchased for the council. None of these were listed on the inventory, and they could not be located at the council offices. Further investigations revealed that the former mayor, Hilberto Campos, had signed for and received all three phones. The total cost of these phones is a massive seven thousand, four hundred ninety-six dollars which is a total loss to the council as the council does not have the phones. When a demand letter was sent to Mr. Hilberto Campos for him to return the phones to the council since they are in fact the property of the Corozal Town Council, Mr. Campos returned two totally smashed cell phones. These phones had been purchased as recently as sixteenth, December 2017, less than 3 months before the new council took over and were unable to be of use, two destroyed and one given as a political gift to the Corozal North Division, of course, no record has been found of such a gift. A 2003 Ford Ranger pick-up truck, property of the Corozal Town Council was sold for two thousand dollars to Mr. Eddie Cau, the common-law husband of Ms. Estela Campos, former Town Administrator. And I still see the truck running around so it shows that the truck was still very, very good. One dump truck, the property of the Corozal Town Council, was given to an employee as compensation for vacation leave.”