Sunday, August 10, 2008

OP inappropriately meets the expenditures of GINA … NCN still not adhering to Tender Board procedures

OP inappropriately meets the expenditures of GINA … NCN still not adhering to Tender Board procedures
Kaieteur News. August 10, 2008 | News

The 2006 Auditor General’s Report that was recently made public has revealed that the Office of the President continues to inappropriately meet the expenditures of the Presidential Guard, Guyana Information Agency, Castellani House and the Joint Intelligence Co-ordinating Agency from the subhead Subsidies and Contributions to Local Organisations, when they are all departments in the Office of the President.

An amount of $7M was allocated for the purchase of minibus and office equipment at GINA, and the full amount was expended on the purchase of a Toyota minibus, one computer, a digital mixer, two camcorders and two mini VCRs.

However, in this regard, there was no evidence that Tender Board procedures were followed during the acquisition of the minibus and camcorders, which respectively cost $2.2M and $3.4M.

GINA responded by stating that there was an urgent need for the acquisition of the vehicle and the editing equipment, and that a decision was made to purchase the items.

The Auditor General recommended that the Office of the President should ensure that the subvention agency adheres strictly to Section 27 of the Procurement Act regarding competitive bidding for services and purchases.

Further, it was noted that the OP has still not laid in the National Assembly the audited accounts of statutory entities under the Office of the President.

Additionally, the sum of $30.329M was expended on fuel and lubricants. It was observed that the Office of the President had made advance payments to the Guyana Oil Company and Esso Service Station for the supply of fuel, and as at December 31, 2006, Guyoil was indebted by $1.075M, while Esso Service Station was indebted by $4.843M, giving a total of $5.918M owed to the Office, which was supplied in 2007.
“As a result, the Appropriations Account was overstated by this amount.”

OP responded to the finding by the Auditor General saying that the approval of the Finance Secretary had been sought to make advance payments, and reconciliation is also now being done on a monthly basis.

The report also highlighted the fact that the National Communications Network (NCN) has still not adhered to the requirements of the Tender Board procedures regarding adjudication at the appropriate authority levels and ensured that all its assets acquired are inventoried and marked to identify them as the property of NCN, to facilitate proper accountability at all times.

During 2005, NCN procured goods and services totalling $55.132M without adherence to Tender Board procedures; and similarly in 2006, NCN purchased transmission equipment totalling $17.555M, comprising connectors, cables, antennae, power divider and amplifiers for NCN transmission centres in Georgetown and Linden. Again, this was done without adherence to Tender Board procedures.

“These items were received; however, they were not inventoried or marked to identify them as the property of NCN.”

Office and Residence of the President
The sum of $12M was allocated for the refurbishment of Castellani House and the completion of barracks and painting at State House, and a further supplementary provision in the sum of $10M was approved, giving a revised allocation of $22M.

During 2006, amounts totalling $20.325M were expended, and included in that total were sums totalling $2.414M which were expended on the completion of the Presidential Guards’ Barracks.

Additional works were budgeted for completion of the Presidential Guards’ Barracks in the sum of $3.819M, giving a revised project cost of $6.092M. However, approval for this variation was not seen. Nevertheless, the works were completed and physically verified.

The report also cited the fact that the National Procurement and Tender Board Administration had, in 2005, awarded the contract for school furniture in the sum of $36.610M.

The furniture was to be used in schools in Georgetown, Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara) and Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica).

Works under the contract began during the period under review. As at December 31, 2006, amounts totalling $16.546M were disbursed under the contract.

“Attempts to determine the quantum of furniture delivered proved futile, since records were not maintained to establish details of delivery.”

The contractor, according to the Auditor General, was contacted with a view to substantiating the transaction, and he had indicated that he had supplied furniture to the total value of $16.546M, but he could not give all the relevant details.

As such, reliance had to be placed on the certificate given by the Buildings Division of the Ministry of Education. The contract was discontinued during the period.

OP responded to the claims by saying that the Head of the Budget Agency indicated that the contractor had claimed that he supplied all the furniture and requested payment.

An examination of the records revealed that the furniture was supplied to the value of $16.546M, and as a consequence the contract was terminated and no further payments were made.

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