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first_img…‘questionable incidents’ unearthed during inquiryChairman of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into City Hall’s mismanagement, Justice Cecil Kennard, while presenting recommendations at the handing over of the report into the Inquiry made a recommendation for the Burrowes report to be implemented.According to Kennard, “Burrowes had carried out an investigation into the working of the City Council…that should be implemented”.The Chairman mentioned that the implementation of those recommendations could improve the work being done by the Council.Back in 2009, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), Keith Burrowes had carried out an extensive inquiry into the state of affairs at City Hall.This led to former presidential advisor, Ramon Gaskin’s appointment in May of 2012 to verify if the recommendations from the report were implemented. Upon investigating, it was found that none of these recommendations were applied to the operations of the local organ body.“He (Burrowes) did the inquiry for the City Council in 2009 and in 2012, he hired me to go and inquire if they had implemented any of his recommendations. I got the opportunity to go there… The recommendations of Burrowes were notCity Hall CoI Chairman, Justice Cecil Kennardimplemented,” testified Gaskin during the CoI.While that report was submitted the following June, the economist said he delved into other matters of the Council where astonishing financial procedures and other questionable incidents were unearthed. From those signals, he is of the belief that the Town Council has adequate revenues to sustain operations but it is being hindered by mishandling of funds.Being tasked to provide him with a list of outstanding revenues and taxes, staffers provided documents which indicated that over $12 billion were owed from businesses and taxpayers.One of Burrowes’ recommendations was for the establishment of an Internal Audit Department which never materialised. In the City Treasury Department, Gaskin is certain that a majority of the persons are not trained in accountancy.He pointed out that in the year 2000, the Auditor General at that time had stated that they hadn’t conducted any financial assessment of the Council in 10 years. Following up in 2016, an announcement was made that no audits were orchestrated in 12 years. “The whole accountancy and books and ledger were wrong…”For many years, financial analysts have been calling for a report on the spending of City Hall.In fact, Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo has highlighted the need for yearly audited statements.The former Head of State at one of his weekly press conferences said with the addition of its new voices at City Hall, the Party will be employing measures to ensure that the Georgetown City Council is fully accountable to its constituents.“First of all, accountability in the City Council, we want audited statements every single year; we want every civil work be tendered using the National Procurement Act because you have seen that they have not had audited statements for the last three years [but] they have given out hundreds of millions in contracts without any form of tendering to friends and family. We want to correct that,” Jagdeo told the press.The CoI commenced on September 22, 2018, and had 15 sittings during which 50 persons testified.last_img read more

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