Referring to Finance Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Michael B. Joseph, as a “sole-sourced thug”, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo today said the technocrat is not only incompetent but that his continued employ at the ministry is at a disservice to the nation.
Jagdeo made the comments as he hosted his weekly press conference at his Church Street office.
The former president had qualms with the fact that the Finance Secretary recently mounted a defence of the APNU+AFC Government in response to statements by Auditor General Deodat Sharma which were published in an article carried by this media house.
Speaking to Guyana Standard, AG Sharma had said that he noted a higher number of breaches to the Procurement Act under the APNU+AFC Government as compared to under the PPP/C.
Joseph said, “The goodly Auditor General provides no evidence for his contention nor offers any comparative data to support his claim. What period is he comparing? Four years of the APNU+AFC government with 23 years of the former administration?”
The Finance Secretary then moved to point out some of the transgressions of the PPP. One of the issues pointed to was the relationship between the PPP and the New GPC.
Joseph said, “For the period January to May 2015, thirteen (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?”
Today, Jagdeo said, “The Michael Joseph, the Finance Secretary, he has a problem because the Auditor General has indicated that there are more breaches of the Procurement Act, which is a factual statement.”
He continued, “They got the Finance Secretary, obviously another sole-sourced person…they got another sole-sourced thug to now cuss the Auditor General. So suddenly this guy goes to GPC and speaks about what the PPP did in the past. This is the Finance Secretary explaining breaches that have been taking place since 2019, the thousands of breaches of the Procurement Law…But he does not know the difference between buying from a prequalified bidder versus sole sourcing.”