Nov 06, 2016 News
… existing records, accounts pose health risks
…PPP/C administration had no interest to make public the spending.
More than nine years after hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to host the 2007 Cricket
World Cup (CWC), it seems unlikely the people of Guyana will ever know how the hundreds of millions of dollars were spent.
A forensic audit report into the spending has disclosed indications of poor record keeping making it impossible to check financial statements.
The forensic audit report, prepared by accountant John Barnes, was one of two handed over by Government to police the past week for criminal investigations.
The other report has to do with the sale of prime lands (Pradoville Two) at Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara to former President Bharrat Jagdeo prior to the ending of his constitutional two-term in late 2011.
Jagdeo and several of his ministers and Cabinet members were among those sold prime seaside lands below market prices. State resources were used to develop the upscale neighbourhood. A number of the former Government officials have already sold their developed properties for whopping sums.
Both sets of transactions were major talking points and sources of deep embarrassment for the last two administrations of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C). They were voted out last year.
The reports were both considered recently by the Cabinet of Ministers and it was concluded that enough evidence existed for criminal probes. Government has announced special prosecution teams to handle the cases and does not rule out international help in the investigations.
With regards to the CWC spending, Kaieteur News has managed to acquire a copy of the forensic audit report.
According to the auditor, World Cup Cricket was held in Guyana in the year 2007 and at the
time of the commencement of the audit, the records had already been eight years old which is one year beyond the statutory retention period for vouchers as prescribed by Schedule 2 of the regulations made under the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act 2003.
The regulations prescribe that records such as cash books and principal journals be kept for 20 years.
The report said that most of the source documents were held by the CWC’s Local Organizing Committee (LOC) at an office in Middle Street, Georgetown where “they seemed to have been haphazardly dumped rather than systematically archived”.
The auditor, in the report, complained that the first request for a cash book (s) and vouchers was answered by the transportation of vast amounts of records (cashed cheques, vouchers etc.) from the Middle Street office to the Department of Culture Youth and Sport (DCYS).
“These records were wet, terribly soiled and stacked in bags in no particular order. The condition was so bad that handling these records would easily pose a health risk. Attempts by staff at DCYS to make the records presentable did not produce much positive results. Even if the records could be brought to a sanitary state, finding specific records seemed well-nigh impossible,” the forensic audit report said.
The Chief Finance Officer of World Cup/Guyana World Cup Inc., Chateram Ramdial, was interviewed but the auditor was unable to speak to Karan Singh, the former Chief Executive Officer who had migrated.
According to Ramdial, he had handed over final accounting records to the then Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport. He did not identify the officer to whom such records were given.
“He also produced no written evidence of this act. The present officers of the Department of Culture Youth and Sport on the other hand, have no recollection of this handing over, and therefore had no records to produce to the auditor.”
The state of affairs would support accusations that the previous PPP/C administration had no interest to make public the spending.
Billions of dollars were spent to build a stadium at Providence, buy BMWs luxury cars and pay for services.
With the absence of the records, it would be almost impossible, according to the auditor, to know who received some of the lucrative contracts that were doled out.
Several other forensic audits were conducted since last year, when the Coalition Government, entered office, to determine what really transpired at a number of state agencies and with a number of special projects and events.
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