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– Ministry?s authority to release payments questionedBy Leonard GildarieRegion Four officials were on Monday grilled intensely about their system of delivery of furniture and payments to one security firm as the Parliament?s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) continued its examination of the 2010 Report of the Auditor General?s Report.Appearing before the Committee at Parliament Building were Deolall Rooplall,Cheap Jerseys Store, the Regional Executive Officer (REO), and other senior officials of Region Four.In his report, the Auditor General flagged payments to R.K. Security which were made before the end of the month for work done for that month.There were no indications that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Four had a system in place to verify how many guards worked and whether they would have been on the job for the hours required. Yet full payments were made to the company.Region Four REO, Deolall Rooplall (centre), and other officials being grilled by MPsThe REO said the region in 2010 made efforts to get back an overpayment of $4M by deducting it from payments in the next few months. However, R.K. Security, wanting the entire amount according to its contract,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, took the matter to court and reportedly got judgment in its favour.According to the Region Four officials,Cheap Jerseys From China, the Ministry of Local Government then issued instructions for the security firm, which had a contract to provide services to schools and other facilities run by the region,wholesale nfl jerseys, for full payments to be made.Nirmal Rekha, Finance Secretary of the Treasury,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, was critical of the claims that the Local Government Ministry would have given the instructions to pay, especially as he could not find any regulations to allow such. Auditor General Deodat Sharma, and Volda Lawrence, an opposition Member of Parliament for A Partnership For National Unity, said they were of the opinion that the money to R.K. Security was an overpayment.Responding to questions from government MP, Gail Teixeira, whether the instruction from the Local Government Ministry was a policy directive, the REO noted that it was one that had specifically to do with the issue of that particular security firm, which at the moment is not doing work for the region.Rooplall disclosed that the region has since introduced measures to ensure security firms engaged are not paid before the second week of the following month. One of these measures is the establishment of a special checking unit which would verify how many guards turn up for work and for what hours. It is this report that is being used to issue payments.Meanwhile, the 2010 Auditor General report also found that furniture to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars were ordered yet no records were found that it was delivered.According to Sharma, there were payment documents that indicated monies were released.The MPs in PAC were puzzled how the furniture was delivered to the school without the necessary quality checks being made.According to the REO, the region has established systems to have the furniture delivered directly to the Regional Stores before being taken to the school. He said that the furniture is green-lighted to be collected by the Regional Education Officer.Questioned about how the region would be able to verify what furniture belongs to a particular school, Rooplall disclosed that each would have its own individual markings with each educational facility expected to maintain an assets? register.The PAC has Parliamentary authority to examine the reports of the Auditor General and question officials on aspects of it. Recommendations are then made for the improvements of the accounting systems or for possible action if there are breaches. With increasing focus on corruption and calls for tighter accounting controls, the PAC meetings have been highlighting several crucial system lapses, especially at the regional level.Overpayments for work not done, missing records and collusion have been cropping up with alarming frequency. On Monday, there were instances of engineers signing off on incomplete work, allowing contractors to collect full payment.PAC ordered a full-blown investigation into revelations that the RDC did nothing to investigate the illegal sale by the Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil) of over $700,000 in fuel and lubricants which occurred in December 2011. The fuel was delivered to three vehicles,NFL Jerseys Cheap, one of them linked to a former senior official who has since been transferred to another region. Two of the other vehicles had number plates not registered at the Guyana Revenue Authority.PAC ordered that the police be called in and that the RDC, GuyOil and the Ministry of Local Government conduct separate investigations.The REO is expected to present a progress report to the PAC in a few weeks.
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