– Government owes contractors about $50M
A forensic audit into the E-Governance project has discovered several irregularities. Among those
highlighted is the fact that the team charged with managing the project bypassed the legal procurement process and went about awarding contracts at will.
The audit into the project was conducted by Ram and McRae’s accounting firm.
The E-Governance project was managed by Alexei Ramotar. Aspects of the Project were subcontracted to nine major suppliers. Auditors said that in several cases the “appropriate tender procedures prescribed by the Procurement Act were not followed.”
Auditors reported that meetings were held with various contractors. At those meetings, some contractors indicated that they have not been paid in full.
Auditors reported that there are “outstanding payments of unspecified sums payable for work completed under the project.”
Ram and McRae indicated that an estimated amount, exclusive of any payment owed to Dax Contracting Services, range between $35M and $50M.
Ram and McRae said, “Our review was limited by the non availability of critical information and explanations, including documents which should have been available for a project of this nature, size and value.
With regards to the contractors and the completion of works they would have been paid for, auditors stated, “We were unable to determine the current status of each aspect based on the documentation available to us.”
Pointing out some of the chaos with regards to contractual arrangements, auditors noted that NT Computeac was contracted to supply a fibre optic cable slicer. He was paid $21.5M to do this; however, there was no contract and auditors found no other evidence to suggest that this was approved by Cabinet.
Similarly, Tels Engineering Services was contracted to supply a frequency converter. Tels Engineering charged $17M but no contract was prepared. Auditors said that the Accounts Department at Tels Engineering confirmed that there is an outstanding balance of over $5.2M. Again in this case, auditors found no trace of approval from Cabinet.
Other findings from the review include “weak or inadequate systems and procedures to adequately govern the project, and account for its finances and inadequate hiring practices.
Also, auditors highlighted that there was no documented standard operating procedures (SOPs) and there were no formal accounting.
Over $7.9B has so far been spent on the E-Governance project. It is currently stalled but auditors are recommending that the new government see that the project is completed. (Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell)
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