Request by Communities Ministry for PAC to “suspend examination” of 2016 AG report unacceptable – Edghill

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Opposition Member of Parliament, Juan Edghill has expressed his absolute disapproval with regards to a recent letter addressed to the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Irfaan Ali, by the Ministry of Communities requesting that the Committee “suspend examination of the 2016 Auditor General Report for the remaining Regional Democratic Councils to allow for better preparations by regional official.”

Opposition Parliamentarian Bishop Juan Edghill

“The nation should be appalled that duly appointed Accounting Officers of the ten Administrative Regions of Guyana are seeking shelter through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communities from appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly,” he said in a statement earlier today.

In the letter seen by this online publication, dated June 26 2018, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry wrote that “while the Ministry is desirous of seeing this process through expeditiously, we are constrained to take this course of action due to the recent unsatisfactory level of performance by the PAC. This time will be used to have regional officials better prepare to assist the PAC in carrying out its mandate.”

However, according to Edghill, this request is unacceptable since the PAC is where the Accounting Officers are ultimately held accountable for their actions.

“It is no secret to the public that some of these officers have been found to have violated the Procurement Act, the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA), stores regulations and even policies set by the Granger Administration,’ he said, recalling that of recent months, the Regional Executive Officers (REO) and huge delegations have attended PAC meetings to give an account of their stewardship and to answer queries, raised by the Auditor General, in his report for the fiscal year ending 31st December 2016.

Moreover, the Opposition Member said that “the ineptitude, incompetence accompanied by the twin sins of ignorance and arrogance have been on open display in some of these sessions.”

He further noted that most recently, the REO of Region Five wrote the Auditor General insinuating that documents would only be made available to the Audit Office when he approves it.

Nevertheless, Edghill asserted that while it is ultimately up to the majority of the members of the PAC- which the Government enjoys- to grant this request by the Ministry, he wants to “put on public record my strong disagreement to this request and I further object to Public Officers stymieing the work of the PAC.”

“This shameful and dismal performance of Public Officers must be dealt with by President Granger and the Ministry of the Presidency because the buck stops at him, they are his representatives,” he maintained.

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