A dire situation has been flagged by Auditor General Deodat Sharma in his 2014 report. Statutory agencies under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture have outstanding audit reports, despite some $9.7B being disbursed to them for the year 2014,
the Auditor General found.
Up until the fiscal year ending 31st December, 2014, there was little accountability over the monies and how they were utilized by the entities. Some of the entities were still to have their reports laid in the National Assembly, at the time of reporting.
These bodies are subject to separate financial reporting and audits. It is understood that for statutory bodies, audits have to be completed by April in a given year. In the case of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), financial statements have had to be sent back for corrections.
One of the biggest culprits was the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), which was established by an Act of parliament 2004. However at the time of reporting it had received some $2.1B for 2014 and a separate audit report, with financial statements still to be submitted.
In 2012 an internal audit into NDIA had revealed that several instances of fraud and conflicts of interest had occurred. It had also recommended the dismissal of top officials including NDIA boss Lionel Wordsworth over breaches to the Procurement Act of 2003.
The report had been sent to officials and former President Donald Ramotar himself. However, Wordsworth had remained on the job. Under the new dispensation, he was sent on accumulated leave as of July 2015.
In the report, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) was flagged as having the biggest disbursement for 2014. The Auditor General’s report also stated that the year of the last audit report for that entity was 2012. It noted that a total of $6.1B was disbursed. A report is yet to be laid in the National Assembly.
The next biggest recipient of monies was the Guyana Rice Development Board, $500M. The last audit report was listed as 2014. It was also noted that an interim audit for the year 2015 has commenced.
The GLDA was listed as having received $409.7M. This entity is yet to finalize audits for the year 2011, while the audit for 2012 is in progress. It was also noted that financial statements for the years 2013 and 2014 were actually returned to the entity for corrections to be made.
For the Guyana School of Agriculture, $201.8M was listed as the disbursements. The report listed 2008 as the last audit report. Financial statements are yet to be submitted for the years 2009 to 2014.
The Mahaica-Mahaicony-Abary Agricultural Development Authority (MMA/ADA) was listed as receiving a sum of $177.2M, with the last audit report being in the year 2007. It reported that audits for the year 2008 and 2009 still had to be finalized.
The report went on to note that financial statements are to be submitted for the years 2010 to 2014.
A total of $64.1M was disbursed to the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI). Its last report was in 2013, with the audit for the year 2014 still in progress.
The Pesticide and Toxic Chemicals Control Board meanwhile received $10.7M, with its last report being in 2013. The audit for 2014 is also in progress.
And finally, the Hope Coconut Estate was listed as receiving an amount of $3M. There was no audit report and financial statements for the years 2008 to 2010 returned to the entity for corrections.
Financial statements for the years 2011 to 2014 are to be submitted.
According to the 2014 Auditor General’s report, the Ministry of Agriculture’s response for the discrepancies was that the outstanding reports will be laid in the National Assembly.
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