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NFMU used earnings illegally to fund One Laptop, E-Government projects

nfmu_olpf_egovMore than GYD$1 billion in licence fees paid to the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) have been illegally used to help finance the People’s Progressive Party Civic-led administration’s two flagship projects- One Laptop Per Family and E-Government, a special probe has found.

“Apparently, failing to appreciate the precedence of statute over “Government policy”, the management of the NFMU misguidedly continues to justify the statutory violation,” states the special investigation into financial operations and functioning of that regulatory agency.

Conducted by Chartered Accountant and Attorney-at-Law Christopher Ram, the probe found that the NFMU’s revenues, being public monies, should have been paid into the Consolidated Fund but on Cabinet’s directions the NFMU was directed to finance the One Laptop per Family and the E-Government Project from 2010 to May 2015. Over that period, more than GYD$$1.6 billion was paid for administrative expenses of the two projects, representing 84% of the Unit’s revenue.

Figures show that the payments made on behalf of the OLPF and E-Governance Projects for the period under review, i.e. 2012 – 2015 represent, as a percentage of NFMU’s revenue, the following: 2012 – 110%, 2013 – 67%, 2014 – 117% and 2015 (January – May) – 152%, These payments on behalf of OLPF and E-Governance represent 84% of NFMU revenues over the review period.nfmu_egov

Ram, citing the Public Corporation’s Act, said the NFMU does not have the authority to meet those expenditures and the monies should be repaid. “Total disbursements made to cover operational expenses of the OLPF and E-Gov. projects amounted to $1,029,958,779 and $278,169,461respectively. We recommend that repayment be sought immediately from the relevant agency,” states the report which was posted Friday, May 21, 2016 on the Ministry of Finance’s website.

“Expenditure in connection with these projects has distorted the operating results of the NFMU for the years 2012-2014 because of the significant sums incorrectly included in the expenses of the NFMU,” the report also states.

The Ram-led team of investigators states that “the unlawful practice of expenditure of these entities being included in the Budget of the NFMU has continued in the 2015 Budget.”

The probe found that for accounting purposes, the NFMU treated payments made on behalf of government agencies as expenses of the NFMU. This is clearly incorrect. According to the report, the NFMU apparently owes the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) hefty sums in taxes.  “After adding back these expenses which in any case are not allowed for tax purposes, a preliminary calculation suggests that the NFMU has a liability to taxes of more than one billion dollars, not including penalties and interest. We saw no evidence that the Guyana Revenue Authority has made any effort to assess the NFMU to any taxes,” states the report.Ram highlighted that no periodic statements are prepared by the NFMU and communicated to the OLPF or E-Government projects with regard to the expenses paid.

  • Emile_Mervin

    I remember, once or twice, advocating for Moses Nagamootoo to become the President in the coalition government, even though the AFC was the smaller or junior partner in the coalition. The reason was two-fold: 1) to garner as much support from the PPP base, and 2) to allow him to spearhead the anti-corruption drive against PPP elements.

    The fact that he lost out to David Granger was not a bother at the time, because most of us thought that Granger would have kept his promise to go after corrupt elements. This thought was further assured by the launching of investigations into the GY$600M Public Service Ministry misappropriation case and the US$133M series of audits. Some of us wanted the crooks to be jailed, while others wanted them to re-pay what they took.

    One year later, all we are reading about are the many revelations of skullduggery. No one was tried. No one has made restitution. No one has been jailed. It is either the coalition is scared of being called witch hunters or it has its own set of crooks who want to use the PPP’s corrupt past as an excuse to carry out their own acts of corruption.

    One other possibility is that Bharrat Jagdeo has a dossier on all those who engaged in corruption during the PNC era. In fact, he did say he has documents showing who stole what during the PNC era and he was prepared to expose those crooks if his crooks were pursued or exposed. But at the end of the day, this surely cannot be a race to the bottom to see who will steal more or the most.

    NOW, WHERE IS THE BLASTED, KISS-ME-ASS US$5M IN GT&TSHARES? BETTER YET, WHERE ARE THE DOCUMENTS, MR. JOE HARMON, SHOWING DATANG PAID THE MONEY? And we are worried only about NFMU, GMA and other alphabet soup companies that were audited, but no attempts to lay charges or seek restitution!

    Celebrating 50 years of self aggrandizement!

    • Col123

      Your energy level up today EM?…Vitamin C daily is recommended for rejuvenation of those new red cells,.which only live for 120 dys…Chris Ram will continue with this gobbledygook until thy kingdom come..The stories of the corrupt PPP will sooner cause ear damage to Guyanese.. ..Chris appears to be a genius with accounting language gymnastics, which make most accountants,lawyers and economists relevant…..that teat from which he is sucking will run dry one day…maybe ,or when he loses his teeth!
      The PPP has “stuff” to show for their thievery…Mr Jagdeo’s mansion will be a UNESCO heritage site for visitor when he push the bucket…I don’t think the chap can kick….you cannot say the same for the heliport pad at Belfield or the graves in the Garden!
      I have a better one for you: Pres Granger should get all the CONVERTS (no reference to political affiliation here) to make up a new party……Ralph, Moses, Rupert, Freddie..et al..who gave up their history, custom, rituals, heritage ….and VOLUNTARY adopted a new one…with Jerusalem now being their Holy site…These converts had the easier path…in their youth… to change their fortunes upon conversion to another religious belief…to get the better life in the fifties and sixties … WHAT does that say about their character?