Auditor and private consultant, Ramon Gaskin has called out officials of the Georgetown Mayor City Council, on allegations of corruption, incompetence and thievery.
Gaskin detailed his contention before the Commission of Inquiry into City Hall.
The accountant also supplied the Commission with a number of documents in support of his claims. Gaskin said that the documents which he produced to the Inquiry are as of a result of a private audit he conducted into the operations of the municipality.
Gaskin said that the inspection was based on a request of former Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Guyana Office for Investment, Keith Burrowes.
Burrowes had in 2009 made recommendations for the improved management of the City Council. He had asked Gaskin to verify whether any of his recommendations were implemented by the M&CC.
However, Gaskin told the Commission that his inspection of City Hall in 2012, revealed a lot more than Burrowes had bargained for. According to the consultant, the investigation revealed that “corruption, incompetence and thievery abound at City Hall”.
“I did more than check on the recommendations. I did my own snooping around. I found so many bad things in that place, so much so, that I did two additional reports on the City Council.
I also supplied copies of my report to the police,” Gaskin told the Commission.
Based on his assessment, Gaskin noted too that while the Council constantly points to the lack of finances to carry it out its functions—it’s a lame excuse.
“I don’t believe that. It is not true. They are only bankrupt because of their own financial mismanagement. Can you imagine that in 2012, the Council had $12B in outstanding rates and taxes that they were not collecting?”
“That’s why I say if they ran the place properly they would have money to do their work. There is a lot of incompetence there too. So even if they had the funds they would waste it or steal it.”
Gaskin stressed that the culture of mismanagement and unaccountability at City Hall started over 20 years ago and it never stopped, it’s only getting worse.
“The culture developed over the years there has to do with corruption and incompetence. The so-called elected Councils are a useless group as well, and the corrupt group of managers, when you have those two… nothing good could come out of it.” As such, he pointed to a number of issues plaguing the financial management of the city.
Another issue is one where the council has hundreds of persons in its employ, it cannot afford.
“Right now the payroll is at over $100M per month but the Council has over 800 persons to pay, some of them don’t even do any actual work. They need to cut back,” Gaskin asserted.
In addition to the overburdened payroll, the consultant noted that workers of the Council have nineteen different allowances to which they are entitled.
“There are 19 different allowances. I don’t believe any other entity on earth allows its workers to have nineteen different allowances. This is absurdity to the max.”
The allowances listed included laundry, uniform, travel, leave, and honour benefits.
“And the council has the face to say that it does not have funds.” Gaskin quipped.
The accountant added therefore that based on his audit on the Georgetown municipality, criminal charges should be pressed against those culpable of financial improprieties.
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