A recent Audit report of the Guyana National Newspapers Limited (GNNL), publishing company of the State-owned Guyana Chronicle Newspaper, has concluded, among other findings that the Board of Directors did not execute its duties with due diligence, skill, care and prudence.
The report stated that audits of financial statements are not up to date, with the last audit completed for the year ended December 31,2013.
The recent Board of Directors of GNNL as at May 2015 comprised Marcia Nadir-Sharma as Chairman and Directors Jason Abdulla , Vidyawattie Looknauth, Jawahar Persaud, Hydar Ally, Tota Mangar and Kwame McCoy.
Free services were provided to political parties in 2015 totaling over 260 thousand dollars and there was poor oversight over trade receivables with a balance of $102,489,156 outstanding as at May 31, 2015, it further stated.
According to the report, which is available on the Finance Ministry’s website, the top ten customers owe $88,981,814 as at May 31, 2015, these customers include the Government Information Agency (GINA) ($74,091,147), the National Communications Network (NCN) Inc. ($1,582,950) and Kings Advertising ($1,520,843). From the auditors’ observations, no effort was made on the part of the company to recover these debts.
The report revealed that vehicles that did not belong to GNNL were also receiving gas, under its name. This totaled over 2.5 million dollars. Of the nine vehicles, Management said six were rented for use by the company.
Apart from not having an internal Audit Department, it was found that statutory records were not maintained by the Company.
Moving forward, it was recommended that the Board of Directors comprise persons with relevant skills and experience necessary for the good governance of the organisation and should include, among others a communication and media specialist, marketing personnel, lawyer and accountant.
Systems should be implemented to ensure that all statutory audits are completed on a timely basis. A debt collection committee with specific responsibility to collect all outstanding debts within six months and a definitive credit policy should be documented and approved by the Board of Directors it cited.
Government is reviewing the performance and efficiency of Publicly owned entities, Statutory Bodies, projects and activities financed by or through public funds.
The Special Audit and Review of the operations of GNNL covered the period November 1, 2011 to May 31, 2015.