PNC/R points to public accounts breaches
Stabroek News
June 19, 2002

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The People's National Congress REFORM (PNC/R) has highlighted some of the discrepancies uncovered by the Office of the Auditor General in its 2000 report on the public accounts.

At the weekly PNC/R press conference last week, the party's central executive committee member, Stanley Ming, listed a number of areas where the required procedure was not followed.

Quoting from extracts of the report, Ming said on the cash position of government the Auditor General stated: "The majority of bank accounts under the control of Ministries, Departments and Regions had not been reconciled for a considerable period of time. Some of them continued to be overdrawn by significant amounts. This state of affairs is indeed regrettable because on a number of occasions, new bank accounts would be reconciled within 30 days of the close of the month. It should be mentioned that several alleged fraudulent transactions were uncovered over the years, facilitated by the failure to reconcile the related bank accounts."

Ming quoted the Auditor General as saying in a review of the operations of the central tender board: "In my previous reports, reference was made to the need for a complete reorganisation of the operations of the central tender board to reflect membership from outside the public service, e.g. the professional engineering bodies, trade unions, the consumers' association and the University of Guyana. However, it is again disappointing to note that no action was taken to implement this recommendation."

On the key findings relating to Ministries/ Departments/Regions, the Auditor General said; "There were numerous breaches in the tender board regulations at the Supreme Court of Judicature. In particular, there was evidence of contract splitting to avoid adjudication by the departmental and central tender boards. In addition, several instances of apparent misappropriation of funds were uncovered in Georgetown and other magisterial districts due to the absence of proper segregation of duties and failure to reconcile bank accounts." He continued: "In relation to the Ministry of Agriculture, the basis of the award of several contracts adjudicated by the central tender board could not be determined because of the unavailability of the related files.

A number of statutory bodies in receipt of subventions from the ministry were also significantly in arrears in terms of financial reporting." He added: "At the Ministry of Education, the main bank account was improperly used to make advances, and at the time of reporting, 394 advances totalling $40.387 million remained outstanding. There were also 494 payment vouchers valued at $129.385 million which were not presented for audit examination." The other extract from the Auditor General's report quoted by Ming was: "In relation to the Ministry of Public Works, a number of irregularities were uncovered mainly in relation to building contracts.

An official of the ministry was in collusion with certain contractors, and in a number of cases there were overpayments on the contracts..."