City Hall finally provides documents for financial audit

first_imgLess than one month after Acting Town Clerk Sharon Harry-Munroe was sent on administrative leave owing to the alleged failure to submit pertinent information for a forensic audit, these documents were finally submitted.Guyana Times was informed that the new acting Town Clerk, Sherry Jerrick, handed over these documents after being provided with a one-week timeframe to do so. This is after the Audit Office of Guyana had written the Commission, ordering that the documents be provided.At Monday’s statutory meeting, the full Council was briefed by Jerrick about the submission to the Audit Office.Since June, Auditor General Deodat Sharma told this publication that the audit was delayed as a result of the Council’s shortcomings to provide requisite data. He insisted that once it was provided, the forensic assessment could be completed.The decision to conduct an audit stemmed from the alarming findings of the Commission of Inquiry, which exposed financial irregularities and mismanagement at the Council. Lone Commissioner, retired Justice Cecil Kennard had called for the Audit Office of Guyana to conduct a forensic audit into the entity’s management even as officers are being disciplined.Earlier this year, there were reports that City Hall had failed to submit a large percentage of the required documents for the Audit Office to continue the inspection.During the CoI hearings, finance records from the Audit Office were presented by the Audit Manager, Dhanraj Persaud, which showed unaccountability for millions of dollars.As he delved into the matter, Persaud showed that Central Government through the Communities Ministry had supplied funds for city restoration projects at a sum of $300 million in 2015 and in 2016, another $200 million was injected into the initiative which totalled to an overall balance of $500 million.However, when checks were made into the pieces of evidence presented for the expenditure of these projects, $70.489 million was unaccounted for.“For 2016, Council did not produce evidence to account for amount totalling $70.489 million,” he said.It was related that the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has a history of failing to source records. In the course of six years which dates back to the period from 2006 to 2011, there have been no financial records for the disbursement of monies at City Hall. Additionally, for the year 2005, documents were submitted but an audit could not be completed because the files were “damaged”.Persaud said, “A few documents were submitted [in 2005] but those are the ones that were damaged”.The Audit Manager stood before the Commission, stating that his agency inquired about the absence of the report but no explanation was provided. In 2012, records were damaged but from 2013 to 2015, some amount of files was presented for auditing, from which they were able to inspect and extract information.According to the Auditor General’s 2015 Report, there were several “discrepancies” in the way the sums of money allotted to the City Council had been spent during that year.last_img

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