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Failed financial updating saw millions overpaid in government contracts- Auditor General Report 2013

by Zena Henry

In 2013, overpayments accounting to more than $22M were made on measured works on various contracts administered by Ministries, Departments and Regions. This is according to the Auditor General’s report for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2013.

The AG found that there seemed “to be no evidence to suggest that disciplinary action of any kind was being taken against engineers, or other staffers involved in the assessment of works in progress and the certification of progress payments.” “It is troubling and hints at management’s perceived inaction to remedy the situation,” he stated

The report would have been conducted during the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) leadership and was made available in parliament today Thursday June 25, 2015. In additional to those overpayments, it was found that further excesses on contract work administered in prior periods had amounted to over$180M and the relevant agencies were finding difficulty in retrieving the funds.

At least nine state agencies were highlighted in this regard with the Ministry of Home Affairs making three overpayments with the largest total of $12M.

Outside of this, four major projects; the Highway Improvement-East Coast Demerara, East Back Hope Canal and the supply and installation of fixed and mobile pumps were highlighted. On the East Coast project which is still to be completed, an advance of over $130M was said to be paid for Lots 3 and 4 of the project which was said to be a breach of the contract.

Apart from the work on that project being behind, it was noted that the project was more than 40 percent behind at the time.

On the undone East Bank project, it was reported that utility cables forced delays. The project had met various stages of completion. The Hope Canal was supposed to complete in 2013, and by that time over $3B had already been expended while to date the project is not totaling completed.

In the supply and installation of the mobile pumps which totaled $US4M, seven of eight pumps had been received, but only four were up and running, while the other three had no pump shaft. However, more than US$2M had been expended, for those pumps which were placed in various areas across the country. Apart from this, more than US$120,000 was expended on pump spares.

Overpayment of salaries saw more than $7M being expended, while it was reported also that cheque Ordered Vouchers continued to be cleared beyond the 16 day time frame. These cheques totaled more than $1B which remained outstanding for the 2013 period and prior. The AG said that “…failure to clear those financial instruments within the stipulated time frame would bring into question whether the sums involved have been used for the purpose intended.”