Former acting-Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Grace McLean, has been interdicted by the Office of the Services Commission.

The interdiction means the embattled civil servant is barred from returning to the education ministry in her substantive post as the country’s chief education officer.

Her leave from the ministry expired yesterday.

Ricardo Brooks reports.

It’s understood that Dr. McLean was advised late last evening of the decision of the Services Commission.

Acting-Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Maureen Dwyer, confirmed the development with our news centre.

Dwyer was appointed to lead the ministry after McLean was sent on paid leave in October last year.

Dr. McLean is barred from returning to the education ministry until it’s been determined whether she will be required to repay a portion of $124 million which allegedly remains unaccounted for at the ministry.

That determination is to be made by Financial Secretary, Darlene Morrison.

The sum in question is related to payments made to the Joint Committee on Tertiary Education, JCTE. The Committee is chaired by Dr. Cecil Cornwall. 

Auditor General, Pamela Munro Ellis, had recommended that surcharge proceedings be instituted against Dr. McLean and former Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Dean Roy Bernard, following an audit of the Ministry.

The auditor general had also recommended that investigators be called in to probe the multi-million-dollar payments.

The funds to the JCTE were reportedly paid over two-and-a-half years, despite the entity becoming a private organisation.

Dr. McLean has denied wrongdoing. She has maintained that the surcharge action is unjustified.

But the auditor general found that both McLean and Bernard failed to ensure that sums transferred to the JCTE were properly appropriated.

When contacted on Thursday, Chairman of the Services Commission, Alvin McIntosh, declined to comment on the matter.

Repeated calls to Dr. McLean and her attorney, Queen’s Counsel Peter Champaigne, were not answered.