THE Audit Office of Guyana has uncovered undocumented purchases of fuel and lubricants by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) in 2013 amounting to more than $1.2M.These commodities were paid for by the entity that was previously known as the Ministry of Housing and Water under the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government.
The 2013 Financial Audit of the CHPA, which now falls under the Ministry of Communities, has also revealed that, in that particular year, there were some 113 instances when fuel and lubricants had been purchased in the name of the agency, but those purchases were not documented by the relevant authorities.
The Audit Office has further revealed that some 18 books were expected to be submitted on behalf of the CHPA to facilitate examination of the 2013 audit year, but ten log books purportedly in the keep of the CHPA were not presented for the audit. The other eight log books that were presented “were not properly maintained to reflect the journeys undertaken and the fuel consumption as per vehicle.”
The report, presented in the National Assembly on Thursday, July 30, revealed there were 36 instances when fuel and lubricants totalling $445,220 were not recorded in log books.
Similarly, there were 58 instances, totalling $590,001, when fuel and lubricants purchased could not be traced to eight log books; and further, there were 14 instances, totalling $233,469, when fuel was purchased in containers for use in generators, but no log book from the CHPA could verify this.
While the CHPA was reported to have an expenditure of $9.9M in fuel and lubricants for the audit year 2013, the Audit Report noted, that “the accuracy and validity of the amount expended for the purchase of fuel and lubricants could not be easily verified,” because of poor log-keeping.
Customarily, the management of the Authority is given the right to respond to the findings and recommendations made by the Audit Office.
Where the Audit Office offered a number of recommendations to address their findings, the CHPA management acknowledged the findings with an assurance for all accounts that “systems will be put in place to ensure that log books are maintained and presented for future audits.”
Under the previous administration, the CHPA fell under the purview of former Housing and Water Minister Irfaan Ali.
The revelations on the CHPA contained in the Audit Office’s 2013 report come as Minister of State Joseph Harmon, under the newly-elected David Granger Administration, reported in June about alleged abuse of fuel from the Guyana Oil Company Limited (GUYOIL) by officials in some government agencies, as well as by their relatives and friends.
Harmon had called for the oil company to produce a report documenting the withdrawal of fuel from the oil company on behalf of government agencies.
Three agencies implicated in those allegations were the Ministry of Housing and Water, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Natural Resources Ministry.
The Guyana Chronicle is unaware if that report has been submitted.
Ali had issued a statement in the Guyana Times daily newspaper earlier this month calling for the Minister of State to publish evidence to support claims made against the Ministries over which Ali formerly presided.
Apart from his responsibility for the Housing and Water Ministry, Ali had also held responsibility for the Tourism Ministry. He relinquished both positions after the APNU+AFC coalition defeated the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government at the May 11 polls, ending that party’s 23 years in Government.
Aside from the purchase of lubricants and fuel, the report also revealed that $468,183 spent on vehicle supplies were undocumented, which presented challenges to the completion of the audit, since records on which vehicles received the supplies could not be found.
The Audit Office report found that, in this regard, the CHPA had violated the Stores Regulations Act of 1993.