$100M contract for items to GPHC still outstanding- 2017 AG report

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Georgetown Public Hospital

A contract which was worth close to $100 million and was intended to deliver a canter truck and several pieces of critical equipment to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is currently outstanding.

The 2017 Auditor General report has found the National Procurement and Tender Administrative Board (NPTAB) gave approval for the three contracts to procure a truck, as well as medical and non-medical items that included equipment for thoracic, ENT and neurosurgery equipment.

The $10 million truck and lift, as well as other equipment worth $22 million were yet to be delivered. This includes a patient view station worth $9.3 million, a $9.1 million 1000 KVA transformer, a 7.5 ton ducted package air condition unit worth $2 million and digital baby scales.

“The head of the budget agency agreed with the comments made above and indicated that the GPHC granted several multiyear approvals to effectively fulfil the contractual obligations and is in contact with the suppliers to deliver the vehicle and equipment as soon as possible,” the Ministry said in response.

In his recommendations, Auditor General Deodat Sharma urged the head of the Budget agency to take action in order to have the items delivered to GPHC… as per the contract stipulations.

Meanwhile, State auditors also discovered the Public Health Ministry not only overpaid several staffers, but has dropped the ball when it comes to recovering the sums which totalled $438,720 for 2017.

The report notes that for the period under review, pay change directives for resignations and maternity leave were forwarded late to the Ministry’s Accounts Department. The money, which was paid to six staffers, has not been recovered.

In addition, the situation is compounded by unrecovered sums from previous years.

According to the AG, the previous out-dated payments total $5.1 million and peaked in 2016, with some $1.7 million in overpayments not being recovered that year.

When Auditor General Deodat Sharma gave the Ministry a chance to respond to these findings, the Head of the budget agency noted that several employees were “written to with respect to overpayments.”

Despite the Ministry reaching out to these staffers, however, there has been no progress in getting back this money. As a consequence, the Ministry related that measures are in place to publish the names of these employees via print and TV in order to get the refunds.

In addition, the Ministry informed the AG that advice is being sought from Attorney General Basil Williams on the way forward. The Audit Office recommended that systems be put in place to prevent reoccurrences and recover outstanding monies.

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