Auditor General investigates $1.6B “Covid-19 facility”

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The Office of the Auditor General has launched an investigation into the spending of some $1.6B taxpayers’ dollars to refurbish the flood-prone Ocean View Hotel into a Covid-19 facility.

This is according to Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, who, in a report by the Department of Public Information, said the fact that the facility is currently nonfunctional even though a whopping $1.6B was spent, warrants an investigation.

“If these sums of money we’re told were spent on the building, then the Guyanese public deserves to know what it was actually spent on. $1.6B is a lot of money and therefore people deserve to know and the only way we can know that is to have the Auditor General and his team do that type of audit and present those results to us,” Dr Anthony said.

According to the DPI, a team has already visited the facility to conduct an initial assessment.

Based on the findings of the audit, the Health Ministry will determine if the project is viable.

The project, which was launched and commissioned during the former coalition administration’s caretaker status, has been mired in controversy.

Initially, the former government received backlash for keeping the details about the project secret from the public.

Now, it is discovered that the coalition administration never properly acquired the property before spending $1.6B to rehabilitate it.

The owner of the building, Wilfred Rambarran, is now demanding millions of dollars owed in rent, claiming that the property still belongs to him.