Under the leadership of former Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, the nation’s Auditor General, Deodat Sharma discovered that there were alarming instances of poor accountability in the procurement of drugs and other pharmaceuticals. But what shocked him the most was that little to no explanation was provided when queries were made.
Expounding in this regard, Sharma noted in his latest report that back in 2018, a supplier had received payments totalling $94.066M for drugs and other pharmaceuticals. However, up to the time of reporting in November 2020, the supplier was still to supply goods valued $37.210M. Sharma was appalled at the fact that the Head of Budget Agency did not respond to this finding. Be that as it may, he recommended that action be taken to ensure the outstanding goods are supplied, or if that is futile, recover the overpayment of $37.210M.
In another instance which reflected poor accountability, Sharma noted that a cheque drawn in 2018 in the sum of $46.050M was paid to a supplier in August 2020. However, there was no evidence that was provided to support the delivery of goods valued $13.125M. Again, the Ministry did not respond to this finding.
Further to this, the Auditor General said that an examination of the Ministry’s Contract Registers revealed that they were not properly maintained to reflect pertinent information. Moreover, Sharma said the recording of payments, balances on contracts and supervisory checks were not evident. The Auditor General said this situation made it difficult and tedious to obtain and analyze information relating to contracts. Here again, the Head of Budget Agency did not respond to this finding.