Local transparency institute questions Huawei gift

The local branch of Transparency International today questioned the single-sourcing of procurement to Chinese company Huawei and its subsequent US$50,000 donation.

In a statement, Transparency Institute Guyana Inc called on the Guyana Government to publicly address the questions and it also urged the Office of the Auditor General to investigate whether the use of the US$50,000 was in line with rules governing public expenditure.

The release follows:

“In recent weeks print media has focused its cross hairs on the Government’s One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project and in particular on the source of funding and the manner of administration of the project. It has gradually come to light that a gift of US$50,000 was given to the Government of Guyana by Huawei, the company awarded a US$14M contract by the Government of Guyana for the laying of fibre optic cables.  That gift was apparently applied by the Government to purchase laptops for the OLPF project.  The Government of Guyana has, to date, not denied this.  Transparency Institute of Guyana is concerned that gifts of this nature are inappropriate particularly in circumstances where there has been single sourcing procurement for the supply of goods and services.  Not only does it raise questions on the procurement process but also questions of ethics and good governance which can result in the erosion of public confidence in the Government.

“Section 29 of the Procurement Act prohibits single source procurement save in specific circumstances, including where only one supplier is available, where the goods are needed urgently due to a catastrophic event or the procurement relates to national defense/security.

“In this case of single sourcing procurement was the criterion for section 29 of the Procurement Act met?  What of the requirements of sections 16 and 38 of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act 2003 which deal with public expenditure and the receipt of public monies raised or received? Has the purchase of the laptops with the US$50,000 gift met the requirements of the FMA Act in respect of the expenditure of public funds?

“Transparency Institute of Guyana is calling on the Government of Guyana to publicly address these questions. Further the Institute is calling for an investigation by the Auditor General’s Office to determine whether the use of the US$50,000 to purchase the laptops accorded with the rules on public expenditure. “

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