Come 2020, the Audit Office of Guyana wants to be in the best position possible to effectively audit the oil sector. In this regard, Auditor General, Deodat Sharma revealed yesterday that several of his officers are undergoing rigorous training overseas.
“We have engaged in several training exercises because we are not knowledgeable in this area. There are many things in the Exxon-Guyana contract that we aren’t sure how to deal with, how we go about assessing the data and so forth. So, we are doing all these different training sessions, rigorous sessions, so that we can know every trick there is,” Sharma said.
The Auditor General made these remarks as he handed over his 2017 report to House Speaker, Dr. Barton Scotland in one of the Parliament’s committee rooms.
There, Sharma said that the Audit Office, through a partnership with the Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO), will be engaging in several capacity building initiatives in the coming weeks.
He said that this will be carried out with the assistance of two Canadians, including Mr. Daniel Barchyn- Senior Executive and Professional Engineer with over 38 years experience in the energy industry. Sharma said that the Canadian’s experience includes founding and leading two oil and gas exploration and production companies. As for the other consultant, Rajesh Dayal, the Auditor General said that this official comes with over 27 years experience in the public service of Canada including 13 years at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.
Sharma said, “More specifically, we would be looking at the various areas in the oil and gas sector that may be relevant to our engagement when it comes to examining the revenues and expenditures of the sector. The areas include: financial, regulatory, technical; and even scientific.”
Through the same partnership with Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO), Sharma said that the office will be building capacity to undertake environmental audits. He said that the Office will look at the regulatory aspects, including environmental governance, as well as key environmental issues, be it: air, rivers, land, oceans and coastal areas, forests, the extractive sector, or solid waste management and disposal.
Further to this, Sharma revealed that a few weeks ago, two officers embarked on a nine months’ attachment with the Audit Office of British Columbia, Canada. He said that one Officer will be working in the area of Environmental Audit, with special emphasis on Guyana’s level of preparedness to deal with an oil spill at sea.
Sharma said that this forms part of an arrangement with the Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation (CAAF) for which an Agreement with the Audit Office of Guyana would be signed in January 2019, whereby CAAF will be providing training in various disciplines for the office over the next seven years.