Former Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Deputy General Manager, Madanlall Ramraj,
has denied that any skullduggery took place at the GRDB when he was second in charge.
He, along with the former General Manager of GRDB, Jagnarine Singh, has been accused of bypassing the Procurement and Tender Board Sub-Committee and taking decisions on their own. There were other damming revelations and accusations made.
These revelations were found when Nigel Hinds Financial Services did a forensic audit of the GRDB.
When Kaieteur News spoke with Ramraj at the Peoples Progressive Party’s (PPP/C) Freedom House he said that there were no truth in what was mentioned in the recently released audit report. He said that in due course he will be addressing the issue. When asked if there was anything true that was mentioned so far, Ramraj responded in the negative.
Former GRDB board member, Dharamkumar Seeraj, who was also named in the report, denied any wrongdoings. He said that he will be holding a press conference, soon, to address the issue. He says it will all be made clear when he addresses the media on the report.
When Kaieteur News visited the GRDB office in Kingston yesterday the staff there was mum on the issue. Many said that they did not want to say anything for fear of getting into trouble.
According to a source close to the GRDB, there were suspicions about the operations of the GRDB for a while now. The source said that no one wanted to say anything and that the findings of the report did not come as a surprise.
The individual explained that a junior official and an accountant who has now resigned from the GRDB totally controlled the finances of that board.
The official was sent there by the Ministry of Agriculture and he was responsible for the management of the organization, and according to the individual the official performed the duties of the General Manager (GM) while the legitimate GM was still there. Some employees said they were shocked when they read the newspapers yesterday. They did not know all “this thiefing did going on”
The Audit report found, among other things, that former GM, Jagnarine Singh, lied to his employers and the Venezuelan government to receive monies from the Petro Caribe Fund.
Additionally the GRDB paid air fares and “per diem” for Saj Rice Mill Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Carlos Colombia, contrary to the board’s policy. There were also instances when loans were disbursed and promissory notes were used as official documents for the transaction.
Further the report found that GRDB employees cashed cheques to the value of $9.8M there “on behalf of suppliers” but there is no way to know if those monies found their way to these “suppliers”. The damming nature of the report resulted in the Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma asking the police to investigate.
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