What steps have the management of GPL taken to stamp out internal corruption?
Stabroek News
March 26, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I would like to offer a few comments on a report (15.3.2002) headlined "Scheduled reduction in line losses was affected by lack of capital - says GPL in submission in to PUC". In the second paragraph a quotation from a written presentation to the Public Utilies Commission reads as follows:

"GPL has made best efforts within the available financing to reduce losses to the defined targets (but) further progress will require ..... elimination of fraudulent activities on the part of employees, contractors and third parties".

This statement is a qualified admission that there are still fraudulent activities in the company. If this is one of the contributing factors leading to lack of capital then what measures and policies have been implemented to eliminate fraud?

I would like to put forward the following for consideration.

Purpose and performance

The privatization deal, which was signed between CDC/ESBI and the Government, was done with the purpose of improving the performance of the then GEC through an elaborate management contract. It is expected therefore that the new management would:

(1) Implement new policies and measures to improve the operations of the company and to improve accountability at all levels.

(2) Review the existing staff structure and implement a new staff structure.

(3) Invest heavily in training and retraining of staff so as to improve the quality and standard of service to the public.

(4) Do all of the above through extensive consultation with the ground staff and use their contributions and the opportunity to build a relationship of trust that would foster confidence on both sides.

(5) Properly acclimatise themselves to the operations, rules and regulations governing the company by law.

Policies and measures

The new management has embarked on a boat trip only to realise too late that the boat had a hole and was sinking. None of the policies implemented seemed to have brought any real positive change in operations. An example is the computerization of the commercial and financial departments, which have only resulted in a process too complicated to regulate. This is glaring to the public, as it is obvious that the billing system does not work well. The computerization of these departments was done (supposedly) to improve efficiency. Could the management say in what areas these efficiencies occur and how they have helped in preventing fraud? Do these operations require more staff, less staff or the same amount of staff as the previous system? What about cost? Are the new systems of operations more costly to maintain? It is clear that the technological changes have been superimposed on an old system without much thought as to what should be changed, improved or left the same. The result is total chaos.

Staff structure

There has been no evidence that there was a review of the staff structure in the company. After more than two years a revised staff structure is nowhere in sight. All the old irregularities of the old GEC are prevalent. Duplication of functions and lack of necessity of certain posts etc. are all but present.


It is submission to the PUC, GPL said that the unavailability of suitable skills in Guyana and the long procurement process may have delayed the implementation of its "highly capital intensive transmission and distribution programme". However, the question needs to be asked what training was provided to staff members who have the potential to acquire these skills and to perform at the highest levels. In the early days of its initiation, the new management had publicly announced its intention to do so, as training was one of their objectives. Instead, there seems to be a serious turn around in this policy, as the training department seems to be no longer recruiting potential apprentices. The change is so dramatic that the amount of company sponsorship at university level has declined dramatically. So much for available skills in Guyana! This is a great disappointment for Guyanese.

Staff consultations

The new management has seen it fit to implement an isolation policy in relation to the Guyanese staff. This has been so effective that fear and indifference are the two only adjectives that come to mind to describe the state of the relationship between management and staff. This has resulted in a lack of respect for management and their ability to bring positive change to the company.


The new management from all indications has not acclimatised themselves to the legal aspects of the company's affairs and seems lost as to how to deal with corruption and fraud within the company. There is a lot of distrust on management's part concerning the role of the unions and the issue of corruption. On the other hand, there is a perception that corruption and fraud are being covered up to disguise the lack of knowledge and incompetence. A well-known example of this is the investigation which was conducted in the Essequibo area where it is openly apparent that there are numerous cases of malpractice among staff. Staff members were even questioned secretly and the Human Resources Manager himself even interviewed certain employees on Feb 18, 2002 under the guise of discussing union issues. It is an established fact that a certain Snr Engineer along with a supervisor was questioned on Jan 24, 2002 concerning these issues. The question remains why no definitive action was ever taken to deal with the issue. After all, the onus is on the management to show evidence of their best efforts to deal with the problem of fraud. Does the management realise that by condoning corruption through inaction their integrity and professionalism is at stake?


(1) The Government and the PUC should demand an independent investigation into these matters and the areas where fraudulent activities exist should be identified and all persons who are culpable should be dealt with severely.

(2) A systematic plan should be developed to implement changes in all operational procedures to prevent and limit fraud and to make it more easily detectable.

(3) A proper system of accountability from the highest levels to the lowest should be established. A properly functioning investigative internal unit should be established and properly staffed free of manipulation by management.

(4) There should be a more meaningful role for the external auditors in making information available to the public and to create some amount of transparency in the overall operations of the company. After all the citizens of this country still have ownership in the company.

Come on GPL more is required! Stop begging for more money and do the things you were supposed to do! What budget do you need for stamping out corruption?

Yours faithfully,

A Mohan