Billions held in special accounts not being transferred to coffers– AG Report
“The Contingencies Fund continued to be abused with amounts totalling $1.992B drawn from the Fund being utilised to meet expenditure that did not meet the eligibility criteria as defined in the Act.”
This is according to the most recently tabled Auditor General’s Report which documents the audit on the public accounts of the Ministries, Departments and Regions for 2009.
The report also stated that there were 11 special accounts which have some $4.7B which was supposed to have been transferred.
Another $12.6B is also being held in special accounts for Ministries/Department Accounts which were also not transferred to the Consolidated Fund.
The audit also revealed that the old Consolidated Fund bank account was overdrawn by $46.823B as at December 31, 2009; and the new Consolidated Fund Bank account was overdrawn by $2.292B.
As has been pointed out in previous reports there is still a significant amount of overpayments to contractors.
The report found that the overpayments to contractors totaled some $99.151M and occurred on measured works for contracts undertaken by Ministries, Departments and Regions. Of this amount, $73.363M was in respect of previous years while $25.788M was in respect of the year under review.
According to the Auditor General, noticeable among the overpayments are amounts of $17.997M, $16.920M and $14.445M, with respect to the Ministry of Education, Region Two, and Region Ten, respectively.
“More so, these entities are facing serious challenges in the quest to recover the amounts overpaid…Even more troubling is the perceived managerial inaction in relation to this troubling trend, since there was no evidence to suggest that disciplinary action of any kind have been meted out to engineering or other staff involved in the assessment of works in progress and the certification of progress payments.”
The Auditor General also pointed out that several breaches of Tender Board Procedures occurred, especially in Region Four and at the Guyana Elections Commission, where contracts were subdivided in order to avoid adjudication at certain Tender Board levels.
“Also, quotations from suppliers were falsified to facilitate the awarding of contracts to specific persons, and purchases were made from individuals that were not considered to be established suppliers…As a result, fraudulent practices to the value of $11.2M were perpetuated on the Regional Administration for Region 4,” for 2009.
An issue which has attracted a lot of controversy in the past has resurfaced again.
It was found by the Auditor General that a sum of $1.404B was paid to New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited on the basis of sole sourcing approved by National Procurement and Tender
Administration Board, and not by competitive bidding as required under the Procurement Act (2003).
The transactions with the firm were for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies.
It was also found that the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation also procured drugs and medical supplies at a cost of $731.024M, based on awards of 13 contracts by National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, without a system of competitive bidding as required under the Procurement Act (2003).
It was found also that the slow processing of pay change directives in several Ministries and mainly in the Regions, resulted in overpayments of salary totalling some $64.215M, including related deductions amounting to $14.975M, that were paid over to various agencies.
The Auditor General reported that of these amounts, $54.853M and $11.025M, respectively were in respect of previous years.
“Ministries, Departments and Regions have faced serious challenges in recovering such sums, particularly because banking institutions require authorisations from account holders to do so and statutory agencies, such as, the Guyana Revenue Authority and National Insurance Scheme have not fully complied with requests to refund sums overpaid.”
The Auditor General also said that the State Planning Commission, which was to have been dissolved several years ago and its operations transferred to the Ministry of Finance, continues to be in existence and has the status of a separate legal entity.
Although the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority operate as separate legal entities, they continue to receive appropriations instead of subventions from Government in contravention of the requirement of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, the AG noted.