The findings of the accounts of Guyana remain almost unchanged, according to Auditor General, Deodat Sharma.
Sharma recently presented the 2009 Auditor General’s report to Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran. This report would be made public on Thursday when the Speaker presents it to the House.
Asked to comment on the report, Mr Sharma said that he would decline to make any profound comment. However, he said that while there have been some improvements, the conditions remain grave.
He said that investigations of the 2009 accounts have revealed a lot of irregularities. For example, he found that there was the abuse of the Consolidated Funds. Mr Sharma declined to detail the abuses, choosing to await the presentation of his report to the National Assembly. Mr Sharma said that his auditors have also found that contractors were overpaid. Asked to detail the extent of the overpayment, Mr Sharma said that he would not walk around with those figures in his head. However, the overpayment runs into millions.
This should have been picked up by the Ministry of Finance through the Integrated Financial Management and Accounting Systems. But this was not done. While he declined to comment, he said that the Ministry of Finance is now setting up an Internal Auditing section.
The overpayment of the contractors also smacks of dishonesty, one auditor said. The contractor would keep accurate records of his payments and he would know that he is overpaid.
The suggestion is that the extent of the overpayment is the extent of bribe that the contractor would pay to someone, more often than not, someone who would help the contractor secure the contract.
Auditor General Sharma found that in many cases there were missing payment vouchers and often, there were no supporting documents. Returned cheque leaves were also missing, he said.
He said that over the years his entity has been making recommendations to Ministries and departments but there are some that deliberately ignore the recommendation and they can do so because the administration is slow to pursue them.
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