A delay in the release of a 2013 audit report continues to prevent the Guyana Public Service Co-operative Credit Union (GPSCCU) from hosting its Annual General Meeting.
This is according to Chairperson of the GPSCCU, Patricia Went, who in the company of GPSCCU’s Secretary/Manager Trevor Benn and other members, held a press conference on Wednesday to shed light on the issue.
Benn in his address to the media said the last Annual General Meeting was held in 2013, and addressed Financial Statements up to 2010. He noted that in 2014, the Chief Co-operatives Development Officer by way of letter dated 20th February, had authorized the Audit of Financial Statements for the period January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013.
During the course of the said audit, Benn said the Credit Union was informed by the Guyana Co-Operative Credit Union League that the Assistant Chief Co-operatives Development Officer wrote the league advising that all audits in progress were to be halted until further advised.
It was this “stoppage” that prevented the Audit from progressing and as such the Annual General Meeting was cancelled, Benn said
Notwithstanding, the Committee of Management wanted to present to the General Membership at the then planned Annual General Meeting an up-to-date audited report, that is, up to 2015.
As a result, the Committee of Management wrote the Assistant Chief Co-operatives Development Officer requesting that the Auditors be given the green light to complete the Audit for the years 2014 and 2015, since it would have taken an additional two months to present to the membership an up-to-date audited report.
The officer was also informed of the cost to hold two Annual General Meetings in one year. However, by way of letter dated September 21, 2016 the officer indicated that permission to have the Audits for 2014-2016 started was denied, stating that the said audits would only commence after holding the Annual General Meeting for the audit of the period 2011-2013.
This would have meant holding two meetings and delaying members’ access to their two benefits.
According to Benn, the Committee of Management had planned to have the Annual General Meeting on November 27, 2016 but this date was not possible, because the Committee of Management had not received the Audited Reports for 2011-2013.
To date the Audited reports remain in the custody of the Chief Co-operatives Development Officer, who cited several reasons for the decision.
These include: The Department of Co-operatives on checking the Audited reports for 2011-2013 claimed to have found some flaws which had to be corrected by the Auditor; The balances shown as “Audit and Supervision” Fund were alleged to be incorrect; The waivers of contribution to the Audit and Supervision Fund which were authorized by the then Minister of Labour to meet the Credit Union’s Educational and Development Programme were to be paid over to the Co-operative Department.
“And despite several meetings at the level of the Minister responsible for Co-operatives and the Department of Co-operatives, the Audited reports signed by the Committee of Management remain in the hands of the Chief Co-operatives Officer, thus preventing the Credit Union convening an Annual General Meeting approving dividends to be paid, and to continue with the Audits for 2014, 2015, and 2016,” Benn added.
“We have had a meeting on March 28 where we spoke to the senior minister of Social Protection and other senior officers reading the issue, but we have not yet received a response,” Went remarked.
Nevertheless, there are plans by the Committee of Management to hold a General Members’ Meeting at the end of this month, which is intended to not only to bring members up-to-date, but to get their views on the matter, to determine the way forward.