Over $100,000 has been reported stolen from the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM), a community-based indigenous environmental organization working in the far south of Belize, the main office of which is on Main Street in Punta Gorda,
Police announced that on the basis of information given to them by the executive director of SATIIM, Gregory Cho’c, they are seeking the “smooth operator,” SATIIM’s former administrator and finance officer, who, they said, forged, deposited and cashed several cheques belonging to SATIIM amounting to over $100,000. An official said that the embezzlement was not a one-time operation, but was done over a year during which cheques were made out to SATIIM, and the official cashed the cheques and kept the money.
Greg Cho’c told police that the monies were stolen sometime between January 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013.
Police said that they have not been given all the details as yet, but are investigating the matter.
SATIIM, along with the Forestry Department, co-manages 41,898 acres of the Sarstoon Temash National Park. The organization carries out a regional land management strategy for the indigenous Mayan and Garifuna communities, and it also protects the ecological integrity and cultural values of the Sarstoon Temash region.