Jul 27, 2021 News
…also hears GuySuCo never received approved $400M
Kaieteur News – The former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, George Jarvis, on Monday told the Public Accounts Committee that it was he who approved the spending of some $6M that was allocated to the ministry in a manner for which it was not prescribed.
The committee heard that the Ministry in fact, used money allocated to it for current expenditure and used it for capital works in violation of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.
According to Jarvis, the Ministry had initially handed out the contract for the repairs to the surface of the Ministry’s compound.
According to Jarvis, the activity started off as recapping of the compound of the ministry itself, essentially to repair the cracks in the concrete. It was disclosed however, that given the quantity of work that was required, the project was reclassified as a capital project.
Jarvis told the Committee members it is regrettable the way in which the funds were utilised, and that a separate contract had to be given to the Ministry of Public Works, which subsequently resurfaced the same compound, this time using a bitchumen surface.
Government Committee member, Bishop Juan Edhgill, yesterday called the manner in which the expenditure was had, namely the spending of current money on a capital project, highly unusual and against financial laws.
Adamant that this was an isolated incident, the former PS did indicate to the Committee that this was a decision taken without the input of the then subject minister. He was adamant, “as far as I am aware there has never been another instance” and further, there was “never an intention to deliberately change the classification of job.”
It was explained that this was done because of the scope of works that the project had to be upgraded to.
The Committee was told that the procedure was followed with regards to the bringing on board of the Ministry of Public Works’ Work Services Group. Additionally, the Committee, which was at the time scrutinising the findings in the Auditor General’s Report for 2016, found that even though some $400M had been approved in the national budget for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), the money never made its way to the corporation.
In fact, the PS told the Committee that he could not recall a request ever being made for the money’s to be released to GuySuCo.
This publication understands that the decision to not request the monies that had already been approved for GuySuCo under the Ministry was due to the fact, there was an intention to shutter some of the estates.
As such, the monies were never released from the Ministry of Finance to the Agriculture Ministry for disbursement to the GuySuCo. The money was earmarked for the Sugar Industry Mechanisation Project.
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