Jun 13, 2012 News
– financial statements one year overdue
By Gary Eleazar
The State-owned National Communications Network (NCN), which has been rocked in recent days
with allegations of financial impropriety, is more than one year overdue when it comes to the submission of its financial statements for 2010 to be audited.
This was confirmed by Auditor General (ag) Deodat Sharma, who said that in the face of the current assertions, he is currently putting together a team and sometime during this week, an emergency probe will commence.
Entities that are required to submit financial statements to be audited by the Auditor General (AG) must complete this task by April 30. NCN, however, as is the case with several other companies that fall under the ambit of NICIL, is lagging behind.
The Auditor General says that he is currently in possession of the Financial Statements from the company for 2009 and has completed the audit for 2008.
According to Sharma, there have been some discrepancies raised in the past, but nothing reflecting the magnitude of the current allegations at NCN.
The AG did seek to assure that the audit of NCN is not one that the Audit Office “would normally contract out”.
Some of the audits that are required under law to be undertaken by the Office of the Auditor General are contracted out, given the constraints as a result of limited human resources.
Asked about the possibility of the documentation that he may require for his audit being tampered with, Sharma stressed that the urgency with which the probe is being launched is a preemptive move to minimize this likelihood.
The imminent probe by the country’s official auditing entity is coming shortly after NCN’s Board of Directors launched an internal investigation. The company’s Production Manager, Martin Goolsarran, received a letter from the Board, ordering him to proceed on leave to facilitate the process. His job is currently being undertaken by Michael Gordon, who is now Programme Coordinator.
The investigation by the NCN Board surrounds payments by advertisers that never seemed to have made their way to the accounts of the company. A number of other staffers, including several of the top brass, are being probed. Board Chairman Dr. Prem Misir is heading the internal investigation.
The Board, following reports in the wake of the Budget cuts, wants explanations. Some of the payments claimed, have no supporting documents. One issue has to do with a $3M cheque paid by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) for programmes. There is no evidence that this cheque went into the NCN accounts.
Over the past few weeks, subsequent to revelations in the National Assembly that NCN raked in over $500M in revenues in 2011 yet wanted over $80M in subsidy from government, there have been questions raised about the operations of the entity.
The board has reportedly asked for the Chief Executive Officer, Mohamed Sattaur to produce financial documents.
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