Govt raises concerns about money spent during the post-no-confidence motion era at PAC meeting

Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill

Reiterating the government’s commitment to ensuring that monies are spent prudently for the continued development of the country, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, said that the administration is concerned about money spent during the post-no-confidence motion era.

Minister Edghill was at the time speaking to the Department of Public Information (DPI) during the recess session at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) 58th meeting of the twelfth parliament at the Parliament Buildings on Monday.

Highlighting some of the issues raised and errors noticed during the 2019 audit report for Region Five, Minister Edghill noted that the meeting allows for the government to keenly assess the spending of money during that year.

“We went into the issue of vehicles being fueled which are not in the regional fleet. One particular vehicle which was from the Hugo Chavez Centre, received fuel from the region. That centre falls under the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security,” he pointed out.

According to the minister, any vehicle assigned by a ministry is subject to be maintained and fueled by that ministry, however, this was not the case for that particular vehicle and a few others.

“It’s a clear case of the misuse of the system. The former REO said that the request came and it was for a short while. But he was unable to tell PAC who made the request…the bottom line is that we are very concerned of how government funding was utilised in the post-no-confidence motion era for both payment of staff and vehicle fuel,” Minister Edghill stated.

Additionally, another issue raised was the taking of farmlands from farmers by the then APNU+AFC administration.

Minister Edghill said this issue was taken to court and saw the farmers winning the case. However, the then Attorney General appealed the matter to prevent the return of the lands to the farmers.

However, when the PPP/C administration took office in 2020, the current attorney general withdrew the appeal at the High Court for these persons to regain their farmlands.

Moreover, the 2019 audit report also revealed that several contracts were awarded to one specific contractor to the tune of $90 million in Region Five, without following the proper procurement process.

The government official said that all the errors identified, fall under the era of the APNU+AFC.