NEW ROADS — An investigation by the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury into the use of parish-issued fuel cards has been shelved for now after officials were unable to uncover any sufficient evidence proving employee wrongdoing.
Parish Attorney John Wayne Jewell said Monday the Police Jury launched the probe in July after someone accused a meter reader of giving his personal identification number and fuel card to two coworkers who used it to buy gasoline for their personal vehicles.
“Who knows what happened, but there’s nothing to base any charges on or take any disciplinary actions,” Jewell said.
Parish Treasurer Becky Mayeux said previously that 25 employees have access to the parish’s 38 fuel cards. Employees are each assigned PINs that help her track who uses what cards on an itemized monthly statement, she added.
Employees, on average, charge approximately $1,700 a month for fuel.
Mayeux was tasked by the Police Jury with obtaining surveillance footage from several gas stations where employees frequently used their assigned fuel cards. That footage was handed over to the Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office for review.
Jewell said Monday the fuel charges under scrutiny were made in June; however gas stations were only able to provide the parish with surveillance footage dating back to July 2.
“They only keep video footage up to three weeks old from the day it was recorded,” he said. “So the video which may have helped could not be retrieved.”
As part of the investigation, the two other employees — also meter readers — suspected of using the employee’s PIN were asked to turn in signed affidavits to the Police Jury concerning their involvement in the issue.
Both employees denied using the fuel card or even knowing the employee’s PIN, according to the notarized statements.
“Without probable cause or an admission by the employee, the District Attorney’s Office cannot file charges,” Jewell said. “There’s nothing we can do unless some new evidence materializes.”
Since launching the investigation, the parish already has taken several steps in an attempt to discourage any future misuse of fuel cards.
A surveillance camera was installed at the fuel pump in the parish’s maintenance barn, and Fuelman has voided all current employee PINs and reissued new numbers for the parish’s fuel cards.
“The book is closed on this particular issue for now, but hopefully, if there was anybody using their gas cards improperly, they are now realizing we’re watching them,” Jury President Melanie Bueche said.
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