The Ministry of Finance has completely rejected recent statements by Auditor General (AG) Deodat Sharma that breaches of the Procurement Act have occurred more frequently under the APNU+AFC Government.

The AG’s comments on this subject were initially published by this news site on May 21. On that occasion, the AG said, “I believe it is more frequent now. There are a lot of sole-sourced contracts and every other day you have some issue with breaches of contractual or tender board procedures. Even the recommendations for corrective action, most of them are not being implemented.”

Today, in a missive to the media, Finance Secretary Michael Joseph said that he finds the AG’s comments to be most astonishing as no evidence or comparative data was provided to support this contention.

Joseph questioned, “What period is he comparing? Four years of the APNU+AFC government with 23 years of the former administration?”

He continued, “Let me offer this fact for consideration. For the period January to May 2015, 13 contracts were single sourced to New GPC to the value of $4.45 billion; comparatively, under this government in 2015 single-sourced procurement for all agencies was 22.24 billion. In light of just this one example, can any right thinking citizen accept the Auditor General’s position?”

In presenting another case, the Finance Secretary noted that the APNU+AFC Government spent nearly $150 million on 45 forensic audits which unearthed “gross financial improprieties” involving, among others, Guyana World Cup Inc., Carifesta, NICIL/Privatization Unit, GPHC-Drug Procurement Operation, PetroCaribe, and Atlantic Hotel Inc. (Marriot), “all of which
occurred under the very watchful eye of this same Auditor General,” Joseph added.

Joseph said it appears that the AG is cherry-picking projects, programmes, entities, and governments to whom he extends scrutiny.

Further to this, the Finance Secretary sought to remind the Auditor General that the Audit Office of Guyana is the Supreme Audit Institution of Guyana and is expected to be an independent and professional body in the government accounting chain.

“He is best advised to observe the spirit and letter of the code of ethics and auditing standards of the International Organization of the Supreme Audit Institutions [lest] he be seen to be guilty of bias, subjectivity, and political influence,” the Finance Secretary stated.

A few moments ago, the Guyana Standard contacted AG Sharma to ascertain if he would recant his statements in light of the ministry’s response. Sharma would only say that he will study the remarks and respond later on.



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