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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Margao Municipal Council fails to produce documents under RTI, SCM demands for cancellation of No Dues certificates issued to Ex Councillors

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Margao : Shadow Council for Margao (SCM) Convener Mr. Savio Coutinho called for the cancellation of No Dues Certificates issued to Ex-Councillors of MMC claiming that they still have dues to be paid to the Council.

The SCM Convener Savio Coutinho stated that since a very long time we have been raising the twin issues of Study Tours/Pleasure Jaunts of the councillors and the non payment of advertisement taxes by certain councillors.

While in the case of the Pleasure junkets, “over 15 lakhs had been collected from the Municipal treasury by different councillors at different times. However they had failed to submit the accounts towards the expense incurred by them, nor did they refund the excess money in their possession. Subsequent to our persistent complaints, and in view of the ensuing elections, fabricated bills were submitted by them to avail a No Dues Certificate,” Coutinho stated. Without any verification of the bills produced, the No Dues Certificate was issued to the defaulting councillors, Coutinho charged.

Coutinho further alleged that in a particular case, one of the defaulting councillors, Lyndon Pereira, who had collected around 60,000/- for one of such junkets, submitted bills of around 46000/- and refunded 14,000/- in cash. Without any verification of the bills to check upon their conformity with the Swamy Book guidelines, the said Ex councillor was issued a No Dues certificate.

SCM had requested the Council under RTI, to issue Certified copies of the account/bills produced by the erring councillors, however no information has been provided inspite of an Appeal before the Appellate authority. SCM has therefore demanded for the cancellation of No Dues certificates issued to Ex Councillors, who participated in such unaccounted pleasure jaunts. Coutinho informed that “It is even more Shocking for us to reveal that an Ex Chairperson of MMC, for her own reasons, went to Crawford Market in Mumbai, on an “official visit”, and got paid for 3 airfare tickets instead of the normal 2 fares (onward and return). The extra amount collected is yet to be refunded as the concerned Ex Chairperson is not contesting the elections.”

SCM has urged the Director for Municipal Administration, who has also been appraised of both the issues,  to give direction for the cancellation of the No Dues Certificates issued or alternately recover the amounts from those officials who are responsible for this loss of revenue. “The repeated correspondence from the DMA office to MMC directing for action in both the issues seems to have fallen deaf ears”, Coutinho lamented.

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