Kaieteur News deliberately misrepresented the truth


Ministry of Health rejects Kaieteur News headline
The Ministry of Health rejects the assertion carried in blaring headline by Kaieteur News that $100M disappeared from the Ministry of Health.
In addition, one gets the impression that Kaieteur News has revealed a breaking story of an event that has now taken place, according to a statement this evening from the Ministry.
The statement reads:

“ The truth is that the Kaieteur News misrepresented the truth; and blinded by its anti-government crusade, took an event from 1996, 14 years ago, and made it appear as if something sinister happened today.
“The Ministry of Health is convinced that the Kaieteur News deliberately, mischievously and maliciously tried to portray a story that the Ministry of Health misappropriated $100M.
“The truth is far from the impression created by the headline and the story in the newspaper. The Ministry of Health would like to set the records straight.
“The Auditor General made reference to the fact that a Bank Account #946 at the Bank of Guyana had never been reconciled since prior to 1992. This Bank account could not be reconciled since the new Government in 1992 inherited a system in which none of the accounts was reconciled. Without the records prior to 1992, reconciliation was impossible. This situation in 1992 was not unique to the Ministry of Health accounts, but to bank accounts of all Ministries. In spite of great efforts, reconciliation of the accounts after 1992 was impossible without accounting records prior to 1992.
“In 1996, the Government decided to close these accounts in order to ensure that new, active accounts could be continuously reconciled, as required by law and by good accounting practices. This decision was consistent with recommendation by the Auditor General as the only way to resolve the problem.
“The specific account that was the subject of scrutiny by the Public Accounts on Monday June 28th and that was the subject of the Kaieteur News story on June 29th . Bank of Guyana Account # 946, was closed in July 1996. This account was non-operational from that date and was not in use by the Ministry of Health.
“Clearly, the Auditor General pointed this fact out – this was a non-operational account. Since it was a closed, non-operational account, the Ministry of Health could not deposit any money in this account, nor could it have withdrawn any money from this account. In any case, we could not make any payment out of this account because at the time the Ministry of Health closed this account, it had an overdraft of just over $2M.
“The Bank of Guyana debited this account in June 1997, almost one year later, with an amount of $100M. Details of this debit transaction were not provided to the Ministry of Health. This overdraft was highlighted by the Auditor General in his 1997 report.
“Since this matter was highlighted by the publication of the Auditor General Report for 1997, a report that only appeared in the Public Accounts Committee several years later, the Ministry of Health was not in a position to know in 1997 that one of its non-operational account which was closed in July 1996 had an overdraft of over $100M since we had closed it with an overdraft of just over $2M.
“Since brought to our attention by the Auditor General, the Ministry of Health has been working with the Bank of Guyana to determine how this happened.
“Therefore, there is no such an event that $100M disappeared. A transaction which showed a debit entry into a closed account occurred and the legitimacy of this entry must be determined.
“In the last ten years, the Ministry of Health has done an outstanding job in bringing greater accountability to our management of resources appropriated to the Ministry. There are still issues raised by the Auditor General and we continue to work to address these issues.
“It is unfair and downright mischievous for the Kaieteur News to portray this story as one in which a person or persons might have disappeared with $100M from the Ministry of Health. Clearly, this was the picture the Kaieteur News intended the public to believe by its bold headline. No such thing occurred and the Auditor General did not make such a charge. Any fair-minded person could see that the Kaieteur News knowingly attempted to mislead readers.
“It is stories like these and headlines like these that lead people to believe that Kaieteur News is carrying out an anti-government crusade.
“The Ministry of Health rejects the story of the disappearance of $100M from the Ministry. No such an event occurred this year. No such a thing occurred since I have been Minister and I have no indication that such an event occurred at the Ministry of Health before my time”, the statement, signed by Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, concluded.