The Auditor General had found that in 2016, some $594 million meant for monthly old age pension payments could not be reconciled.
In the center of this confusion is the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC), which is responsible for paying pensioners and submitting the respective vouchers.
During Monday’s sitting of the Public Accounts Committee, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security Shannielle Hoosein-Outar explained that “normally what happens is that GPOC would send the Ministry a statement and we would look at it and compare it to our cash book because we’re supposed to be having the same balance, we would give GPOC the funds we would pay to the pensioners and then they bring the vouchers back to us.”
However, this was not happening and millions of dollars in old age pension have been unaccounted for.
The Permanent Secretary has since noted that efforts are being made to reconcile the accounts.
“As it stands right now, we have taken the advice of the Auditor General and we are in the process of closing the old Old Age Pension account and opening a new Old Age Pension account,” she said.
The monies that were unreconciled have since been reduced to $115.9 Million as of 2017.
When contacted, Human Services Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud explained that corrective measures are being taken to prevent a recurrence.
“I would not want to have that happen under my tenure so that is where we would’ve put all the protocols in place to ensure that does not happen.”
She further explained that “at this point in time, it has to do with the Post Office bringing back the vouchers to us so that we could reconcile. In fact, we have put a system in place where they have to do that on a weekly basis so there is no long period where we don’t know what’s happening.”