MAHIPAUL ALLEGES LACK OF FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AT GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES, CITES AUDITOR GENERAL’S 2021 REPORT

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Opposition Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul

Opposition Member of Parliament has raised concerns over alleged massive corruption unearthed in the Annual Report on the Public Accounts of Guyana and on the accounts of Ministries/ Departments/ Regions for the financial year 2021.

Mahipaul recently announced that items valued $1.297 billion were paid for but not yet delivered across five Ministries and nine administrative regions. The cost for the items ordered by the Ministries amounted to $1.057 billion while $239.635 million was allegedly expended for items in the regions.

In referencing the Ministry of Health, Mahipaul further alleged that it was found that an amount totalling $1.915 billion was paid for drugs and medical supplies but not delivered and of that amount, only $9.294 million were covered by bank guarantees, which means that should the suppliers default on the supply of the drugs and medical supplies, the ministry will find it difficult to recover the difference of $1.906 billion.

As it relates to the awarding of contracts in region 9, he revealed the Regional Democratic Council awarded eight contracts totalling $106.830 million to a contractor who is currently blacklisted up to the year 2030 by the Public Procurement Commission of Guyana.

With reference to the violations to the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act of 2003, section 43, there were 162 cheques totalling $623.404 million still on hand which should have been refunded to the Consolidated Fund. Up to the time of audit and at the time of finalizing the Auditor General’s report in September of 2022, five Ministries and four Regions still had cheques on hand which should have been refunded to the Consolidated Fund as at 31 December 2021. Of the sum $623.404M, fifty-nine cheques totalling $351.129M were in relation to Ministries and Departments, while the remaining 103 totalling $272.275M were in relation to Region Nos. 1, 5, 8 and 10,” he said.

The member of Parliament added that these, among many other financial irregularities and abnormalities were unearthed and he is sure when the Accounting Officers appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), more will be found.

Last year, Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony had announced that a regional audit of drugs and medical supplies uncovered over $1 billion in expired medication and medical supplies, while the APNU+AFC was in Government.

In providing a breakdown of the findings, Anthony noted that in Region One there were expired supplies to the tune of $22.6 million, with $33,000 worth of supplies in Region Two, $507 million in Region Three, $484,000 in Region Four, $395.5 million in Region Five, $202 million in Region Six, $40.7 million in Region Seven, $24.6 million in Region Eight, $41,000 in Region Nine, and $3.3 million in Region Ten.

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