…but finance and procurement system reportedly in chaos
A situation tantamount to financial chaos currently exists at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). This is according to a source close to the premier public health institution, who revealed that this state of affairs has the potential to impact the entire operation of the hospital.
The situation, this publication was reliably informed, is linked to the fact that the hospital currently has in place two Directors of Finance who do not remotely work in unison.
Both individuals functioning in the capacity of Finance Director are paid the identical salary and have separate offices, Kaieteur News was told.
In fact, it was revealed that one of the directors, who formerly worked at a semi autonomous institution, saw his salary reportedly being mounted by 110 percent.
Speaking of the genesis of the situation, the source revealed that one of the Directors had his service terminated a few years ago by the then Chairman of the Board. The Director in question had sought legal redress. The outcome of that matter was the court ruling that the Chairman of the Board hadn’t the authority to terminate the services of the Director.
It was asserted that such authority was vested in the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital. However, this publication understands that no directive was given by either the CEO or the Chairman of the Board to reinstate the terminated Finance Director.
This publication was told that the jilted Director allegedly decided to seek the intervention of “political officials”. It was only under the tenure of the last Chairman of the Board that advice was forthcoming from the Attorney General that the Director be reinstated.
In the interim though, this publication was told that a decision was taken to employ another Finance Director. But this was even without the position being advertised, as is required. Added to this, the source revealed that the position was not even vacant in the first instance since the embattled Finance Director was not terminated. In fact, he has since returned to the GPHC and has been working as per norm.
The return of the jilted CEO and the appointment of the new Director reportedly occurred while the hospital was being managed by an Acting CEO who was allegedly instructed (reportedly by a higher authority) to permit the employment of the second Director.
“The second Finance Director was brought in to meet Human Resource as the new Finance Director…ever since there has been two Directors operating,” the source revealed.
“The whole finance system there is in chaos…no one knows who has the authority,” said the source who added that “paying these two Directors is an extra financial burden to the hospital.”
“It is a mess…nobody knows, at times who has the spending power at this hospital, and things are not going right. There is no company in this country that has two Directors of Finance,” the source said.
“People have just been placed in position, the finance and procurement departments are chaotic,” said the source who disclosed that the situation is amplified by the appointment of two Assistant Finance Directors, one of whom reportedly hasn’t the requisite qualifications.
“There have been constant claims that the financial processes at the GPHC are transparent, but there have been many occasions when there has been no evidence of transparency, especially with the appointment of some individuals,” the source asserted. “It has been a pattern over the years…things haven’t changed much over the years. It has been different sets of people doing the same thing,” said the source
In fact, reports suggest that an individual currently in the Finance Department might have had an integral role in a financial fraud detected a few years ago. The matter is one that had gained the attention of the police and has for a few years been highlighted in the Auditor General report as unresolved.
According to the Audit Office of Guyana, there were 159 instances where moneys amounting to $5.115 million were apparently misappropriated by a cashier (name provided) and possibly other persons who were not identified up to the time of the investigation.
The cashier (who was later terminated) and the Finance Director (whose termination was rescinded by the court) were sent on administration leave while an Accounts Supervisor remained on the job.
According to the report of the audit process, the apparent misappropriations occurred whereby cash and cheque payments were not made to the respective payees and the related sums were unaccounted for. The audit report detailed too that the various transactions surrounded three bank accounts relating to salaries, revenue received, and moneys payable to the Consolidated Fund.
“Up to now the people who lost their money have not been paid…the matter was brought to the Board to be addressed because there are certain people in the Finance Department and Audit Department who might have had a role to play in the fraud. The truth was skewed, because some of the people in key positions would have been aware but didn’t share the truth of the matter,” said the source, who revealed that even the police were not furnished with sufficient information to conclude an investigation into the matter.
“The fact is the police didn’t know what to do because they didn’t get the information they needed and some of the perpetrator(s) of that fraud are still working at the hospital,” the source confided.
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