UG in $482M debt, $50M owed to part – time lecturers

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UG's Vice Chancellor, Dr. Jacob Opadeyi.
UG’s Vice Chancellor, Dr. Jacob Opadeyi.

By Kurt Campbell

Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG) Dr Jacob Opadeyi has confirmed that the institution has a debt which amounts to some $482M.

The Vice chancellor was at the time presenting to the media the findings of the recently concluded first and second phase of a financial audit of the UG by the University of the West Indies.

According to Dr Opadeyi, $50M of the debt is said to be owed to part-time lecturers at the institution, while the reminding $432M is owed to utility companies and NIS among others.

Opadeyi said the financial structure of UG has been broken for years and needs to be fixed.

“I have a long list of recommendations to make UG better,” he told reporters.

He is hopeful that once the UG administration puts forward its plan, which will require money and new policies; it will garner the support of the Government of Guyana.

Opadeyi, a Nigerian-born former Professor at the University of the West Indies, says he also plans to review the organizational structure of the Bursary and will hire more competent and qualified staff, citing the lack of supervision as the main cause for several of the issues plaguing the institution.

It was on these grounds that the professor justified the termination of the contract of the university’s Bursar John Seeram and its Chief Accountant Hazel Bentinck following the findings of the audit.

“They lacked professional integrity based on the number of years they worked here” he said.

However, the Vice chancellor said while the audit has unearthed financial irregularities, it is expensive to determine who is responsible since it would require a forensic audit and time. This Financial Audit by the UWI is free.

Opadeyi says he has been performing the duties of an Accountant and Vice Chancellor for a while now and challenged all staff to rise to the task that lies ahead.

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