Letter: Human Rights Violation at UG

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Dear Editor,

As a former student of the University of Guyana, I am appalled at the nonsense that takes place there.

The brewing issue at the University of Guyana over the past few days is the termination of two top senior officials, the finance controllers of the highest tertiary institution in Guyana, Bursar John Seeram and Chief Accountant Hazel Bentick.  This termination decision happened after a special audit into the university’s accounts was conducted by auditors from the University of the West Indies.

Press reports indicated that the University of Guyana Council terminated the contracts of the two employees. But what is troubling is the fact that the University of Guyana Council seems to have used a draft audit report to make this decision on the two long-standing employees.

Press reports pointed out that Vice Chancellor Professor Jacob Opadeyiprovided the University Council with the draft audit report, but not the two employees’responses to this report. The press reports implied that the Vice Chancellor withheld this information to the highest governing body of the University of Guyana, the University Council.

The audit report is a draft because the two employees’ responses to this report were not considered by the auditors. In accordance with the standards, norms and practices of auditing, auditors would review the client’s comments and on the basis of this review will construct a final auditing report.

In considering the performance of the two dismissed employees, the University of Guyana Council should have used a final audit report when it becomes available, not the draft audit report.

This special audit has three phases, and only two were completed. All the more reason to confirm that the audit report is a draft.

What is even more troubling is that the press reports indicated that the 22 page-draft audit report was handed out to the Council members at the morning of the meeting by the Vice-Chancellor, according sources close to the University. The now dismissed employees’ comments were not presented at this meeting, although the Vice-Chancellor had them in his possession weeks before.

So clearly, the two dismissed employees’ due process was highly violated and the Vice-Chancellorby not presenting their written comments demonstrates that he withheld information in the making of major decisions by the highest governing body of the University of Guyana, the University Council.

This in my opinion which is a matter of public interest and must be addressed in the interest of human rights and fair play.

Sincerely,

Stephen Alphonso

 

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