Govt outraged at corruption level in state agencies - Luncheon
Stabroek News
December 20, 2001

Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr Roger Luncheon yesterday announced that government would table procurement legislation early in the new year as part of its effort to address the high level of corruption in government agencies and other para-statal bodies.

The legislation would allow for better monitoring and evaluation of the procurement process through the parliamentary sectoral committees and the procurement commission, all of which have been created by recent amendments to the constitution. The sectoral committees are tasked with overseeing and scrutinizing government's financial administration and policies.

Briefing reporters on decisions taken at Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, Luncheon said that the government was outraged at the incidence and prevalence of corruption, the level of which continued to be high. He noted that successive reports of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee had commented on this.

Luncheon said that there were a number of measures in place to address the issue, but that they either were not performing optimally or were in need of additional features to create the sort of environment for decisive action to reduce the incidence.

Luncheon also referred to recent incidents at the Wildlife Division, managed by the Environmental Protection Agency and at the Fisheries Department of the Fisheries, Crops and Livestock Ministry. He said that government had moved to bring in the police and that has led to charges being laid against the errant officers. Also, he said, government planned to put measures in place that would allow for more prompt intervention including dismissal of the officers concerned.

Luncheon said, too, that once the gap was closed between the payment of salaries and conditions obtaining in the public and private sector, it should be possible to recruit and retain more skilled accounting staff that would allow for detailed attention to the tender and procurement systems.