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The Annual Report on the Public Accounts of Guyana and on the accounts of Ministries/ Departments/ Regions for the financial year 2021 shows massive corruption, gross disrespect for financial laws and incompetency in the management of taxpayers’ dollars, asserts Member of Parliament Ganesh Mahipual in a released statement. “The lack of transparency and accountability were well documented and noted.”
Making reference to the Ministry of Health, Mahipaul who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says, it was found in the Auditor General’s report $1.915B was paid for drugs and medical supplies but not delivered and of that amount, only $9.294M were covered by bank guarantees. “This simply means that should the suppliers default on the supply of the drugs and medical supplies, the ministry will find it difficult to recover the difference of $1.906B.”
Also found were items valued $1.297B which were paid for but not yet delivered, Mahipaul notes. He points out the sum is with respect to five Ministries totalling $1.057B, and nine Regions totalling $239.635M.
“As it relates to the awarding of contracts in Region 9 it was found that the Regional Democratic Council awarded eight contracts totaling $106.830M to a contractor who is currently blacklisted up to the year 2030 by the Public Procurement Commission of Guyana.”
With reference to the violations to the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act of 2003, section 43, there were 162 cheques totalling $623.404M still on hand which should have been refunded to the Consolidated Fund, he notes.
“ Up to the time of the audit and at the time of finalising the Auditor General’s report in September of 2022, five Ministries and four Regions still had cheques on hand which should have been refunded to the Consolidated Fund as at 31 December 2021. Of the sum $623.404M, fifty-nine cheques totalling $351.129M were in relation to Ministries and Departments, while the remaining 103 totalling $272.275M were in relation to Region Nos. 1, 5, 8 and 10.”
These, among many other financial irregularities and abnormalities were unearthed and I am sure when the Accounting Officers appear before the PAC, we will find lots more, declares Mahipaul.
“But with the current attitude of the Government side on the PAC, noting that it is them who changed the quorum of PAC to give them full control in deciding whether a PAC can be held or not, it is my conclusion that the PPP/C government will continue to slow down the meetings of the PAC by way of absenting themselves and curtailing the hours of work with a clear intent to not examine their years of massive corruption, gross disrespect for financial laws and incompetency in the management of taxpayers’ dollars.”