SEC moves to legally terminate contract of manager suspected of forgery, fraud

Saba Electric Com­pany (SEC) took its former Head of Distribution J.R. to court last month, seek­ing to legally terminate his contract with immediate ef­fect on suspicion of forgery, fraud, and theft of company property.

SEC dismissed R. with im­mediate effect in a letter on December 1, 2020. “This is because you have falsely fa­voured a company of your friend at the expense of SEC,” SEC said in the let­ter.

R., who had worked for SEC for 31 years, is sus­pected of having approved no fewer than six invoices from a local construction company that charged SEC for work it had not done. The work had actually been done by SEC’s own em­ployees. The invoices had been created on R.’s work computer.

“You have (knowingly) made sure — by approving the aforementioned invoice and even several other in­voices — that SEC paid [the construction company ­Ed.] for work that was not done by this contractor,” it was stated in the letter.

R. was accused of buying materials for one of the construction company’s jobs with SEC money, even though the contractor had agreed to pay for the mate­rials out of pocket. He was also suspected of giving a customer some SEC ma­terials for free, despite the fact that the customer had to pay.

R. opposed the December 2020 letter, and, on January 28, requested that the court declare it null and void.

A court date was sched­uled for March 26 but, in the meantime, SEC sent R. another termination letter.

This one — dated March 18 — dismissed R. with im­mediate effect for allegedly stealing copper from SEC in 2014.

In addition to the civil pro­ceedings, SEC has filed a criminal complaint against R. with the Kingdom De­tectives.

In summary proceedings on March 26, SEC’s lawyer Sophie van Lint requested that the court declare R.’s employment contract le­gally terminated for urgent and compelling reasons. R.’s lawyer Jason Rogers requested that the court declare the dismissals null and void and order the re­instatement of his client’s employment contract. In the event of a dismissal, Rogers requested that the court order SEC to pay his wages and benefits from December 1, 2020, until the day the contract is legally terminated, and pay termi­nation compensation of US $168,878.

The court issued a provi­sional verdict in this case on April 13, which terminated R.’s employment contract as of April 24 and ordered SEC to pay compensation of $121,578.

However, the court said it could not determine the accuracy and validity of the allegations because summary proceedings are meant to be short concrete hearings with limited inves­tigative capacity. The court thus referred the case to a so-called substantive hear­ing (in Dutch, “bodempro­cedure”).

This means that the court’s April 13 verdict is valid un­til there is another ruling in a substantive hearing.

SEC and R. could also jointly decide not to carry the case further, which would make the court’s rul­ing binding. Both parties have until Friday, April 23, to withdraw their cases.

“The Court finds that the accusations made against the employee are all docu­mented and substantiated. However, the employee disputes the substance of these allegations …

“The employee does ac­knowledge that his subor­dinates have dug trenches to lay underground cables and that a relatively small portion of the invoices of [the construction company] refer to this, but he says this has been a long-standing practice, dating back to the time he worked for utilities company GEBE in Saba. The employee’s defence that this is a continued practice, which has taken place for years, deserves further investigation….

“For the other accusa­tions, the employee has a story — including that SEC’s management was aware of what was going on and tolerated it — but in this hearing it cannot be inves­tigated whether this story is correct and would thus of­fer sufficient counterweight to SEC’s accusations.

“In any event, the facts re­sulting from the employer’s investigations appear to be correct, but the employee’s defences cannot be exam­ined properly by this Court. And then there is the ques­tion of the stolen copper. The employee disputes in­volvement in theft, but the Court cannot determine the accuracy of this accusa­tion in these proceedings either,” said the Court in its provisional verdict.

The Daily Herald.

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One comment

  1. Over 30 years of dedicated service and for personal and political hate, it seems that SEC decided to go on a witch hunt to destroy the best employee that the company will ever know, meanwhile the copper thieves are still employed.
    This is the mess that happens when playing political games and running a company like you run your household. Let that be a lesson to many. You can be the best that you can be, but some will go the length to bring you down.
    (Shortened by Editor)

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