Unaccounted $40M: New accounting procedures in place for Orealla

The Orealla Village Council

In light of the misappropriation of almost $40 million in Orealla, Corentyne River, Region Six (East Berbice Corentyne), the new Village Council was charged to have a better accounting system that is transparent.

These were the sentiments of Region Six Chairman David Armogan, who added that the members of the Village Council were trained in accounting and bookkeeping.

“All accounting practices will have to be put in place. They were also told that they will have to adhere to the laws which stipulated that they must have regular meetings with residents of the community and explain to them what are the financial arrangements, what are the financial transactions taking place, how much money is collected, how much money is spent, what are the plans for the village,” Armogan explained.

In fact, he noted that currently, the Village Council is in the process of drafting a three-year plan to guide them during their time in office.

However, an audit was conducted into the finances of the village when it was discovered that the cashbook was not updated since January 2020. It also showed major discrepancies.

The audit also found that the previous Toshao had been almost singlehandedly running the affairs of the Council and in so doing, allegedly mismanaged millions of dollars in funds. Meetings in the community which are stipulated under the Amerindian Act have not been held for more than a year.

According to Armogan, the regional administration will be monitoring the affairs of the Village Council very closely.

He said the regional administration will also be paying keen attention with respect to the spending of the presidential grant.

The audit which was conducted by the Amerindian Affairs Ministry also had found that between 2018 and 2021, the presidential grants of $1.5 million annually was mismanaged.

In addition, it was pointed out that family members of Councillors were given loans from the grant and had not been repaying same.

“Maybe at our level we will have to send in our regional auditors and not to wait until the three-year period is completed,” the Chairman added.

Further, he added that the regional administration should also be held accountable for some of what had been happening at Orealla.

Admitting that the Regional Democratic Council has a representative from Orealla, Armogan said the regional Councillor over the years has only been reporting on what needed to be done.

“Obviously he has not been following what the Village Council is doing, and so, in the future, I think his role has to change.”