The AFC in a statement, following a leadership retreat on Sunday, said it was of the view that the series of audit reports into “apparent irregularities in various Government agencies should be supplemented by a review by experienced independent international forensic auditors and thereafter submitted to high quality external professional independent legal advice with a view to proceeding to prosecution where warranted.”
As the apparent fall out continues to deepen between the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC), independent analyst and economist Ramon Gaskin has dismissed as “nonsensical”, a call by the AFC for there to be an international review of the forensic audits into several State agencies, conducted by local auditors.
However, Gaskin during an interview on Monday said such a review was unnecessary.
“An international audit of an audit done by professional accountants is extremely silly; it’s nonsensical in the professional world. You can have an audit of an institution, but you can’t have an audit of an auditor. There is no need to bring in foreign auditors to audit the auditors, nobody does that,” Gaskin said.
The economist and political commentators believes that the AFC’s calls for ‘an audit of an audit’ are grounded in its uneasiness with a number of things.
“It is part of their unhappiness with a lot of things. I think they are unhappy with a lot of things and this is one new thing they are bringing up… that they are not happy with the results of the audit, that they need an international auditor. But they should tell you which one of the audits done here by local people they are not happy with,” he reasoned.
Gaskin mentioned that Nigel Hinds Financial Services was one of the auditors and Nigel Hinds only last week defended Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who is embroiled in a campaign that is being waged against him by the Kaieteur News and several other anti-Harmon elements.
The economist further questioned why the AFC members who sit at Cabinet did not object to the appointment of the local auditors when the Government initiated the audits last year.
“When all of these auditors were appointed and the matter went to Cabinet presumably, because a lot of money was paid to Goolsarran, Nigel Hinds and all of them, at that stage they should have indicated that they didn’t want these local accounting firms to do it,” he stated.
Many are of the view that the audits were done in a haphazard manner where on many occasions, the managers and heads of some of the audited agencies were not allowed to respond to claims made by the auditors, or in cases where they responded, their comments were excluded.
From the onset, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had issued calls for the audits to be conducted by independent international firms.
He had said that while his Party – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic – was willing to support any audit, it was only going to support such exercise if they were done by an international firm.
“We in the PPP will support any forensic audit, but for a forensic audit to be fair and to do its work to find corruption, you have to have the skills to do that and I submit that these two persons (Christopher Ram and Anand Goolsaran), they are political operatives. They do not have the skills to practise forensic audits… We are in favour of hiring a reputable international company, in a transparent process to do this, to do forensic audits of all of our accounts,” Jagdeo had said. (Reprinted: Today’s Guyana Times)