Auditor General cites Gecom, Amerindian Affairs Ministry for serious irregularities

Successive Auditor General’s reports allude to serious deficiencies in the management of finances and stocks of materials associated with the execution of the duties of the Guyana Elections Commission and the inefficient maintenance of records relating to the disbursement of stocks.

The discrepancies, in the 2011 Report of the Office of the Auditor General and repeated in 2012, point at what the agency clearly appears to believe is a lack of accountability on the part of Gecom.

One of the most glaring irregularities to have come under the scrutiny of the Auditor General is the case of 204 cartons of polaroid film, valued at $30.485 million and acquired by Gecom since at least 2006 with an expiry date of April 30, 2007. Having been caught with the stock of film on hand either close to or beyond the expiry date, Gecom sought to ‘do a deal’ with a local business house. Based on the Auditor General’s report the deal did not work out and Gecom says it is moving to have the expired stock written off.

The report also alludes to other significant stock management anomalies, including failure to continually update bin cards. While Gecom has undertaken to update the cards by the end of November, a source close to the entity has told this newspaper that given the “significant differences between the bin card balances and the actual stock on hand” alluded to in the Auditor General’s Report there was “no possibility whatsoever” that “a reliable reconciliation” would ever take place.

The source told Stabroek Business that the Auditor General’s Report was the outcome of a hiring policy that had little to do with competence.

Meanwhile, sums of money associated with work-related advances are yet to be accounted for by Gecom, according to the report.

The outstanding amounts were advanced to persons who have now left the job or in one case a former Gecom employee now deceased.

Meanwhile, the Audit Department’s inspection found “large quantities of old/unserviceable stock on hand” a circumstance which, it said, “suggested that stock was issued on a “last in, first out basis, rather than first in, first out,” an assertion which Gecom has denied.

The report indicates that Gecom is now awaiting official authorisation to dispose of millions of dollars of unserviceable items.

Meanwhile, the report makes mention of various other long-standing, accountability-related discrepancies including uncleared advances at least one of which dates back to 2006, payment voucher discrepancies and other irregularities which, the report says, relates to failure to “entirely adhere to stores accounting procedures” in relation to the proper maintenance of inventories.

Meanwhile, the Auditor General’s Report has cited the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs for failing to submit for inspection the log books for its 11 serviceable vehicles. Additionally, the report states that the Amerindian Affairs Ministry is yet to complete registration procedures for three All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) which were acquired by the ministry “prior to 2012.” The report also cites the Amerindian Affairs Ministry for slew of irregularities pertaining to the management of its stores including failure to maintain a bin card system and “a lack of segregation of duties in the management of the stores.”

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