Education Ministry refutes corruption claims
Guyana Chronicle
May 28, 2002

Related Links: Articles on education
Letters Menu Archival Menu

THE Ministry of Education is refuting allegations of unfair practices and corruption in the purchase of school materials by Opposition Leader, Mr. Desmond Hoyte at a recent news conference.

In a release, the ministry categorically denied the claims and asked for more specific information.

Hoyte said the ministry was purchasing books which were not being used in schools and are being piled up in a bond; giving contracts to bogus companies; and not placing orders with local agents of booksellers, but with others at prices higher than those quoted by the local agents.

He also claimed that the ministry's Permanent Secretary, Mr. Hydar Ally issued a circular that stationery and janitorial supplies should only be purchased from two sources, stating that there was no competition for such purchases.

Hoyte said one bookseller recently had cause to write Education Minister, Dr. Henry Jeffrey to complain about "the unsatisfactory, unfair and corrupt manner in which books, stationery and other school supplies are being sourced".

But the ministry denied the claims, stating, "we have no books that are not being used by schools and which are piled in a bond. Perhaps the writer of the letter or Mr. Hoyte can provide us with more specific information."

The release continued: "When using its own sources, the policy of the ministry is to purchase direct from the publishers. However, when dealing with internationally funded projects, we are required to go to open tender. In such cases, all persons are free to tender."

The release further stated: "Firstly to correct Mr. Hoyte, Salod's Marketing Agency was not included in the Permanent Secretary's circular. The circular resulted from the outcome of an open tender process of which Kojac Marketing Agency and Guyana Stores Limited won tenders for stationery and janitorial supplies, respectively.

"Tenders for the supply of stationery and janitorial supplies were advertised in the print media on September 02 and 09, 2001."

According to the ministry, Hoyte's statement that it has granted monopoly for the above mentioned items, not allowing competition and denying the advantage of having the lowest prices for the best quality is misleading.

"All local booksellers have benefited from purchases of textbooks where either small quantities were required, or the publisher indicated that we must purchase from the local agents.

"The bookseller who has complained about unfair and corrupt practices has as recent as 1999 benefited from an award for over $21M for supply of textbooks. This bookseller is also the main supplier of books obtained locally," the ministry pointed out.

"The ministry received the letter of complaint on May 02, 2002, a reply was sent indicating our intention to investigate and communicate the results. We would wish to politely suggest that before Mr. Hoyte calls on the private sector to condemn our ministry, indeed before he himself makes these spurious statements, he should instead of simply repeating allegations, investigate them," the release said.