Jul 19, 2016 News
The National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) seems to be taking quite some time before it can begin correcting a substantial amount of what was said to have been done wrong under its previous management.
The company is yet to collect over US $16M from various agencies even though it is said to be in need of every cent.
Earlier this year, NICIL sent one of its Board Members, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, and a Legal Officer to China in an effort to retrieve US $5M. This is money owed by Hong Kong Golden Telecom. The money remains outstanding from the sale of Government’s 20 percent shares it had in GTT.
While NICIL has been making efforts to collect this money, going to the extent of sending representatives to China, it is yet to collect monies owed to it by various local companies, both private and state-owned.
Former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran, pointed to these debts in his report of the forensic audit he conducted into the affairs of NICIL.
The forensic auditor reported on several provisions of bad debts quoting various amounts.
Pointing to one set in particular Goolsarran said, “…Included in Related Party Receivable is an amount of $754.398 million shown as provision for bad debts. These relate to Guyana Electricity Corporation – $566.633 million; GT&T – $142.738 million; GUYSUCO – $42.968 million; and LINMINE – $2.059 million.
It therefore means that the total provision for bad debts as at 31 December 2014 was $3.270 billion.
The comments made earlier about specific Board approval and the Minister’s involvement in relation to these large provisions for bad debts are also relevant.”
Further, Goolsarran commented, “It should not be over-emphasized that a provision for bad debt has the same effect on the results of NICIL’s operations as that of a write-off and is usually a precursor to the latter, hence the need to involve NICIL’s Board and the Minister.”
In this regard, Goolsarran was referencing to an issue he pointed to in other sections of his report which is that several actions were taken by NICIL’s former management without the approval of the Board and the Minister of Finance.
Some of the debts date way back, but NICIL, under the management of Former Director, Winston Brassington never collected the sums.
Despite the fact that the huge debts were highlighted in the report of the forensic audit, NICIL is still to make moves to collect the monies.
NICIL’s new Chairman, Maurice Odle has been unreachable. However, a source within NICIL has indicated that efforts are still to be made to collect the outstanding sums.
The source attributed the delay in addressing many of the issues highlighted in the audit report to the fact that a new Director is yet to be appointed.
The employee explained, “You have to remember that a Board does not meet every day or every week; sometimes it doesn’t even meet every month. So it is kind of unreasonable to think that NICIL’s problems can be fixed quickly when it is operating without a substantive director.
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