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GINA staff paid in 2015 with money released in 2016: auditors called in again

After failing to provide clear answers about how a Contingency Fund Advance of $11M made in January 2016 was used to pay staff of the Government Information Agency (GINA), in December the previous year, the entity’s Director, Beverly Alert, has now called on the Auditor General to re-look at the entity’s finances.

The matter came up for scrutiny when the Public Accounts Committee met today (May 22, 2017) to scrutinize the discrepancies raised by Auditor General Deodat Sharma in his audit of the nation’s finances for the administration’s first year in office.

Abena Moore, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Presidency, attempted to offer an explanation which turned out to incense members of the Committee.

She told the committee the advance from the contingency fund was requested for GINA on behalf of the Office of the Prime Minister.

According to Moore, the money was requested to make payments to the Guyana National Newspapers Limited (GNNL), publishers of the Guyana Chronicle.

It was explained by the GINA Director that the debt, was acquired by GINA during the period leading up to May 2015.

A total sum of $9.4M was paid to GNNL while the remainder of the advance was used to reimburse GINA for the bonus payments made.

The Contingency Fund advance totaled $11M.

Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Parliamentarian was not satisfied with promised made by Moore to never have a reoccurrence and said, “I don’t think expending public resource can be treated with a slap on the list…I think whatever measures need to be put in place including disciplinary measures should be put whether within GINA or the office of the PS.”