Jun 21, 2016 News
– warns that police just have to build cases strong enough for court
As the nation waits for criminal and administrative action to be taken based on the findings of the forensic audits launched last year into state departments and projects, Minister of State Joseph Harmon is affirming that things
are happening and that action will be forthcoming.
According to the Minister during a recent press briefing, the administration has sent audit reports, which recommended criminal proceedings, to the police and specifically the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU). He noted that others which made administrative recommendations will be acted upon.
“It is important for the public to understand that the audits have actually discovered some things,” he stressed. “What happens after the audits is that the auditor goes and makes recommendations based on the information that is provided to him.”
“In some cases the auditor stated that they were not provided with information because some persons did not provide the information. In some cases they deliberately refused to provide this information. But what happens is that the auditor makes a finding at the end of his process.”
“The state will have to take that finding and determine whether some will have to go to the police for police work, or some will have to be dealt with administratively. Those that have to go to the police, we’ve actually sent some of those matters to the police and SOCU and they have actually started their investigations. Matters which have to be dealt with administratively, we are taking the action administratively.”
He also referenced the meeting which President David Granger had on Thursday with the Permanent Secretaries of various Ministries. Harmon stated not only were the audits on the agenda, but that the President instructed them of their responsibilities with respect to these audits.
“And so you will see some action being taken in respect to administrative recommendations and some action in respect to police work.”
“The problem is this, too. For the police to establish a case in the court, there is a certain standard of proof which you have to establish. That standard, for an auditor, is not the same standard which the police require for building a case to take it to the court.”
He noted that what the police get from the auditors will be statements and findings of the auditor. Harmon said that for the police to make this a matter of the courts they will have to go beyond what the auditor has to say.
“They will have to get additional information to ensure that they have a case.”
Government had embarked on a series of audits of ministries and agencies to ascertain their financial status and unearth any suspected improprieties. Some $133M was spent on 45 of the 50 forensic audits
The remaining five audits were sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Over 20 forensic audit reports have been released thus far for the public to peruse.
A number of officials including at the Guyana Oil Company; the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) and at the Guyana Water Inc. have been sent home with their contracts terminated or not renewed.
Observers have been critical, however, at the slow pace at which these audits have been acted upon. In particular, there are Permanent Secretaries still in office, who have been implicated in some of the audit findings dating back to the previous administration.
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