Oct 24, 2015 News
New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC), the previous administration’s largest supplier of drugs and medical supplies, was still benefiting from large contracts, mere days before the administration’s last financial year came to an end.
This information was laid bare in the audited accounts of Government’s expenditure. The accounts were tabled in the National Assembly on Thursday last, by Finance Minister Winston Jordan.
New GPC is owned by Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, a close associate of the former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
According to the audited reports, not only was Ramroop being handed contracts days before the financial year came to an end, his company was also still to deliver millions of dollars’ worth of drugs on a contract he had been paid for, four years earlier.
The discrepancies raised by the Auditor General have since been flagged in his official 2014 report.
Compounding the situation, the report found too, that Ramroop’s New GPC was also still being used by the Ministry of Health to store Drugs and Medical Supplies at its Ruimveldt Storage Bond, this despite construction of its own state of the art facility at Diamond East Bank Demerara.
As it relates to drug supplies last year, the Auditor General found that three contracts were awarded to the New GPC in May and December 2014, in the sum of $2.2B.
The contracts are being flagged not just in relation to the time of the year at which point it was awarded, but the Auditor General’s Office found too that new GPC did not fully comply with the requirement stipulated in the contracts, and instead delivered drugs and other items that did not have the required shelf life.
The contract document, according to the Auditor General, states that “the shelf life for the product shall not be a minimum of 18 months from the date of final acceptance for pharmaceuticals, and a minimum of 24 months for medical supplies or as determined by the purchaser.”
An examination of the payment vouchers, contract documents, invoices, delivery notes and other related documents revealed that items delivered did not have the required shelf life.
“As a result, the supplier did not fully comply with the requirements stipulated in the contracts.”
The discrepancies flagged by the Auditor General also centered on New GPC’s failure to deliver some $11.9M on a contract it received four years ago in 2011.
Irregular supplies and the delivery of items with limited shelf life were also not the only problems discovered by the Auditor General when it comes to new GPC contracts. Issues were also raised in relation to bank guarantees that the company provided as security.
It was found that eight contracts valued at $2.6B were awarded to New GPC for the supply of
Drugs and medical supplies
Two of those contracts were supported by bank guarantees in the sum of $2.2B and were required to be valid for 28 days after the expiration of the contracts.
The Auditor General found, however, that there were no guarantees in force at the time of audit examination in July 2015, even though the suppliers were still to deliver goods valued at $335.8M.
The problems with Ramroop’s New GPC and bank guarantees are not a new one. It was noted by the Auditor General that there were similar instances the previous year.
It was reported that in 2013, the New GPC was awarded ten contracts valued at $2.3B of which freight charges totaled $180.5M.
The contracts were supported by six bank guarantees with an aggregate value of $2.56B.
The guarantees were required to be valid for one year, but each had a validity of only three months and a set expiry pattern in months ending October 2013, January 2014, February 2014, March 2014 and June 2014.
This meant that there were no guarantees in force at the time of the examination, even though the contractor was still to deliver goods valued at $323.321M, as at September 30, 2014.
In 2014, the remaining balance of $145M on a contract was paid, revising the outstanding amount to $496.2M, of which deliveries totaling $359.6M were received, leaving goods valued at $136.637M still to be delivered.
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