– “House must demand Finance Minister install missing modules,” – MP Greenidge
Could it be that the true reason that the government did not install two modules belonging to a reliable accounting system, the Integrated Financial Management Accounting System (IFMAS) is because it was part of a calculated and long running plan to rob the
Carl Greenidge, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) strongly believes that this is so.
The Parliamentarian recently added his views to the many others which have followed the recent statements of the IFMAS developers who refuted those made by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.
Dr. Singh at a press conference held a months ago, had said that his ministry failed to implement two of the modules belonging to the IFMAS because it is suited for a more “mature” environment.
However, Doug Hadden, Vice President of Products of the Canadian company which developed the IFMAS, said that he is unaware of any case where a government bought the system and did not use all of the modules.
He said that while Governments are treated with a sense of privacy, he would advise that all the modules be used.
Hadden had also said that in terms of the environment, the IFMAS was designed to suit from “the immature to the very mature”.
“We have implemented this system in countries with a far less mature environment than Guyana has.”
The two modules that are not being used are the Purchasing Module and the Assets Inventory Module.
Though Dr. Singh contended that the two unimplemented modules are for a more mature environment, it is important to note that when Guyana got the IFMAS system, which was secured at a cost of $132M, it was specially tailored to suit the country’s needs.
Greenidge stated that the fact that the Ministry has omitted the two modules for no discernible reason that Hadden can rationalize, strongly suggests that the many abuses being brought to light by the Auditor General’s Department, in the PAC and by the media, “are part of a calculated and long running programme to plunder the Treasury and to defraud the people of Guyana.”
The Former Minister of Finance said that some people, when confronted by the endless series of misappropriations and abuse of the public purse by the PPP regime, “dismiss the incidents as the result of a few criminal types in the Party and just incompetence on the part of Ministers and officials.”
The politician said that that would mean that “we are just witnessing a lot of reports of corruption at this time as result of coincidence.”
He asserted too that what we are experiencing in Guyana today is not the result of bad luck or serendipity. The AG Department he expressed has frequently drawn to the attention of the PAC and the House, a number of projects for which full payments have been made to contractors for work before it was completed, frauds involving payments made for activities for which prior approval had not been granted and which should have been picked up by the IFMAS.
Similarly, he said that there have been cases of vehicles being misappropriated in circumstances where the proper managing of the inventory could have prevented such frauds.
The report from the developers of the IFMAS, Greenidge said, points to the fact that the PPP regime has “embarked on a process of extensive fraud hidden by a careful and cynical set of actions intended to facilitate theft and prevent the apprehension of those perpetrating these crimes for as long as possible.”
He said that it would be most unwise to allow this situation to continue or to turn a blind eye to those pursuing this behavior.
“I think that the Kaieteur Newspaper should be commended for following up this matter which we in the Parliament should take up with renewed vigor. It is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue,” the A Partnership for National Unity member added.
He said too that the House must demand the Minister of Finance to acquire and install the missing modules as soon as possible. And on an interesting note, he said that the Parliament should also seek to find out who ordered the modules in question to be omitted.
On Tuesday last, Leader of the Alliance For Change, Khemraj Ramjattan said that the excuse given by Dr. Singh that his ministry failed to implement two of the modules belonging to IFMAS because it is suited for a more “mature” environment, only proves that government’s corrupt methods are indeed “very mature.”
Ramjattan said that he feels justified based on the recent response of the IFMAS executive. He added, “Dr. Singh backed fully by members of his Cabinet, never wanted to be policed and scrutinized by this IFMAS system. They just wanted to fool the public that Guyana is on IFMAS mode, so as to make Guyanese think that they are transparent and accountable.”
Hadden had said that when it comes to the management of taxpayers’ dollars, accountability is of absolute importance. He said that it has been proven that manual systems which are in place to ensure accountability can be flawed and beaten.
To help ensure transparency and liability, his company designed the computerized accounting system, IFMAS, which covers how taxpayers’ money is budgeted and spent by the government.
Hadden explained that the Purchasing module is important because it allows you to automate everything. He said that if, for example, a government wants to buy a computer for a ministry it would have to budget for it. The IFMAS then issues a purchasing order and when you pay for the computer, you collect a receipt which can be scanned into the IFMAS. So, there is absolutely no need to keep the physical receipt. This, he said, would defeat the purpose of having the system.
“The Assets module is very helpful for asset management. It is important because it helps the government to manage the value of State assets. It ensures that you don’t sell something for less than it is worth and it also helps governments to manage the assets to ensure the country is not being robbed.”
Hadden said too, that the modules provide better control over what was spent, how it was spent, who is assigned to the asset acquired and what has become of its value.
The Vice President also stated that “the IFMAS was not designed to be backed by a manual system, but to replace it”.
Former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran said that Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. had written to the Commissioner of Information requesting that a copy of the contract with the Canadian firm be made available.
However, Goolsarran said that he received a “rude, arrogant and discourteous response,” a copy of which he sent to this publication.
While the Government of Guyana has refused to implement the other two modules, Hadden says that it may very well be the case that the modules were implemented in a manner that suits the “priorities of the government.”
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