Auditor General’s report 2011: sanitizing or whitewash
The 2011 Auditor General’s report is the earliest since 1993. It is also among the poorest in terms of quality and content. Those journalists who look forward to going to town on the report will be disappointed by the shortened and sanitized work produced by the national Audit Office. Indeed two days after the report was published it had ceased to attract media attention. The word “abuse” that described the management of the Contingencies Fund by the Minister of Finance has been replaced with more acceptable language “continued to be used without meeting the requisite criteria” – “urgent, unavoidable and unforeseen.” It is more than mind-boggling that Mr Sharma could think that expenditure related to the elections of November 28, 2011 could have been “unforeseen,” particularly since in a special report on advances to the police for the elections, Mr Sharma acknowledged that such advances were also a problem in 2001 and 2006.
Here are some other issues which have been highlighted in past audit reports which have been relegated to verbiage in the report itself, if they appeared at all: Procurement of drugs for the Ministry of Health and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation amounting to three billion dollars from New GPC; procurement of pirated textbooks by the Ministry of Education; fraudulent payment of pensions and gratuities; stale-dated cheques; lottery abuse, etc. And things that appear to have escaped attention were monies spent on Pradoville 2, contract employees, the severe weaknesses at NCN and failure to account for NICIL.
Once again the Audit Office fails to look into the annual sum of $100 million allocated to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport for arts and sports development. Had it not been for the fact that …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.