Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member Juan Edghill last Monday requested that Region One provide verification of the existence of 68 employees on its payroll, following the region’s failure after two years to ensure the acquisition of the Tax Identification Number (TIN) certificates.
“I would like to have verification that these 68 persons exist. Because if they don’t have a TIN certificate and they’re being paid, PAC would want to be satisfied that they’re being paid,” he stated at a hearing.
The 2016 Auditor General’s report recorded that at the end of 2016, the region had 68 employees who were without TIN numbers, a situation that it noted could have implications for the payment of taxes.
Regional Executive Officer (ROEO) Leslie Wilburg was upbraided by PAC Chairman Irfaan Ali after he reported that the issue had still not been corrected. Wilburg was unable to say how many applications have since been submitted to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and when they were submitted.
“From 2016 to now…you cannot complete this? Getting the TIN certificate for the employees, from 2016 to now?” Ali questioned.
Wilburg had stated that the location of the persons proved to be an issue in ensuring the applications were filed, prompting Ali to remind him that he had stated on the last occasion that when the employees came for payments, they would ensure that the forms were filled out.
The Region One administration was also asked to provide a breakdown of its staff, which was given as 857 workers, although the Auditor General’s report recorded 751 at the end of 2016.
Ali requested information on the staff members and their positions as well as where they were employed.
Meanwhile, the executive of Region Three, which also appeared before the committee last Monday, was advised to deduct payments for rent from the salaries of delinquent workers staying at government quarters, after it reported that some of them continued to ignore the region’s requests.
REO Denis Jaikaran reported that out of the 67 employees that occupied their government quarters, 21 had commenced paying rent, and the others, while written to, have failed to comply.
It was reported in the 2016 Auditor General’s report that the region has 91 government buildings, with only 67 being occupied. However, the auditors were unable to determine whether those occupying the quarters were entitled to rent-free living spaces.
Jaikaran was subsequently advised by Accountant General Jennifer Chapman that the monies should be deducted from their salaries, a system that Ali pointed out was standard.
The REO was instructed by Ali to have this done within two weeks’ time.