Less than one week after coming into office, the Dickon Mitchell-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has discovered another cellphonegate scandal from the old New National Party (NNP) administration of defeated Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
A source close to the new rulers told THE NEW TODAY Thursday that a senior government minister had raked up a cellphone bill of just over EC$70, 000.00 in the last month in office.
He said the Permanent Secretary in the minister’s ministry authorised the use of State funds to pay the bill to the service provider but “the guy in Finance didn’t want to do it but they were scared that he might go and talk about it.”
According to the source, preliminary investigation suggests that the State has already paid the bill but indicated that “things like that have to be exposed and see where the calls were made – whether it (was) business or his own private or personal thing and ask him to pay for it.”
He said it is clear that a lot of investigation into the running of the affairs of Grenada by the previous regime will have to take place following the change of government.
A few years ago the former New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell was rocked by a cellphonegate scandal in which several officials had run up thousands of dollars in cellphone calls with Digicel.
The most striking case involved a former Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sheldon Scott who was caught with a cellphone bill of EC$22, 000.00 a month.
Then Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell chided both the service provider and the recalcitrant for the misuse of the government-provided cellphone numbers because the agreement had called for a cap to be placed on all the phones.
Dr. Mitchell gave assurances that ex-Senator Scott and the others will be asked to repay the monies to the State.
However, several months later he told reporters at a press briefing that Scott had not paid any money.
Speculation is rife that the new Grenadian rulers might pursue Scott who is a known political activist for the NNP on the cellphonegate money issue.