Legal Affairs Ministry has $10M it cannot account for
The Legal Affairs Ministry is unable to say how around $10 million ended up in its accounts as of December of 2011.
The discrepancy was noted by the Auditor General’s Office in its 2011 Report, and was scrutinised by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during its meeting yesterday afternoon.
According to the report, “Un-reconciled differences of $12.904 million and $301,583 were reflected in the bank reconciliation statements for the State Solicitor bank Account No 120 and Official Receiver bank account No 330 held at the Bank of Guyana.”
It was eventually determined that around $2 million of the amount came from funds that were provided for payment to rice farmers to compensate them for removing their farms from lands in Leguan.
But the remaining amount, approximately $10 million, cannot be accounted for. Even the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Indira Anandjit, who headed the delegation which represented the ministry yesterday, was at a loss to say where the money came from. She said she and her staff have been pouring over receipt books to find receipts which correspond to the amounts, but have been unable to find the relevant receipts.
As a result, the ministry, and the Auditor General’s Office are unable to trace the source of the money, which has been accumulating since 2007 and probably beyond.
According to the Finance Ministry’s Accountant General, there are three ways the money could have been accumulated, including “revenue received but not deposited (and) unauthorised withdrawal from bank accounts,” all of which are illegal.
Nevertheless, he said the only logical thing to do is to remit the amounts to the Consolidated Fund, in accordance with the law.
A request for this amount to be transferred to the Consolidated Fund was made by the Head of the Budget Agency to the Accountant General on November 28, 2012, but it seems that permission is still pending.