[www.inewsguyana.com] – Acting President and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has pledged the new government’s full commitment to having a corruption-free Guyana, even as he reminded of the forensic audits that are being conducted, the results of which will be used to prosecute those found culpable.
The Prime Minister, speaking at the launch of Anand Goolsarran’s new book, ‘Public Accountability at the Crossroads: the Guyana Experience’ at the Pegasus Hotel, noted his amusement over Ministers of the former government who have a vested interested in ‘trivialising’ the extent of corruption.
“They think that if they bring them down to the level of vehicles, then we would be tempted to look for the coins…but we are also concerned about missing vehicles, furniture, beds as well as large sums of monies that have been spent illegally, misspent or spent without proper procedures,” the Prime Minister said.
He pointed out that the APNU+AFC government will be setting up systems to detect corruption, and encourage reporting of dishonest acts. He noted that the Cabinet has started off by signing on to a Code of Conduct, and that the intention is to have officials even at the level of the region sign on to this code.
He noted that corruption has been like a cancer in Guyana, and to ensure that the country becomes free of this scourge, the government needs bodies such as Transparency Institute and the work of Anand Goolsarran.
He indicated his intention to act on the Public Procurement Commission, and hopes to get the support of the Opposition in this regard.
Transparency Institute Guyana Inc., used the opportunity to renew its called for the Government of Guyana to implement speedily, what it termed ‘critically needed’ commissions.
The Institute’s GINO Persaud noted that this was the first time in the history of the body that members of Government were in attendance at one of its event. He was referring to Mr. Nagamootoo and Minister of Public Security and First-Vice President Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Jaipaul Sharma and Minister in the Ministry of Communities Keith Scott who were present.
Persaud renewed calls that the institute has been making for five years, including setting up a Public Procurement Commission to provide independent oversight of public procurement, the prioritising of the appointment of members of the Integrity Commission, and for government to implement laws to regulate campaign financing in national elections, among others.
The need to guarantee integrity in public life, to ensure that all public money is placed in the Consolidated Fund, that no public expenditure is incurred without Parliamentary approval and a full review of the Access to Information, were also reiterated.
Goolsarran explained that this second book is a collection of articles which were published weekly in the Stabroek News under the theme “Accountability Watch” during the period June 2012 to December 2013.
The book comprises 81 articles, mostly dealing with issues relating to governance, transparency, and have a direct bearing on the legislature, he noted.
Goolsarran’s first book was launched on October 9, 2012. It was titled “Improving Public Accountability the Guyana Experience 1985-2007”. Dr. Goolsarran has over 28 years in the field of accounting and auditing and worked in the Audit Office of Guyana from 1985 to 2005, during which terms he served as AG from 1990 to 2005. He is credited with trying to restore public accountability from 1992, through his effort as AG of Guyana. [Extracted and modified from GINA]