2019 Auditor General’s Report: Cheques cut but works not completed in Reg. 10


The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday heard of financial breaches in Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice) as it scrutinised the 2019 Auditor General’s report.

According to the 2019 report, the regional administration breached the local financial laws because 228 cheques totalling $131.8 million were prepared for work not yet completed.

So the report concluded that the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act 2003 was breached. According to this law, unspent balance of public monies issued out of the Consolidated Fund shall be returned and surrendered to the Consolidated Fund at the end of each fiscal year.

Government and Opposition Parliamentarians quizzed the regional officials present before the Committee about this.

“The cheques were cut for works not completed. The work didn’t do, how were the cheques cut if the work didn’t do,” a seemingly incensed Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill asked.

Orrin Gordon, the former Regional Executive Officer (REO), said such actions were taken in response to “situations confronting the entity at the time.”

“There are some projects which are not going to be rolled over, and once it is not (rolled over), the max payment has to be made,” Mr. Gordon said.

He reasoned that the regional administration opted to have these cheques prepared beforehand so the payments could be made once the work was completed. He also asked that the system of disbursing funds for projects not rolling over be reviewed so that such issues do not happen again.

His “candid” response, though appreciated by some members of the Committee, was still found unacceptable.

“Engineers, you must not subject yourself to instructions that are against the financial laws of this country… you cannot pay for work that is expected to be completed,” Opposition Parliamentarian Ganesh Mahipaul said.

The PAC continued to scrutinise other issues raised by the Auditor General in his report.

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