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… says Auditor General refused approval Accountant and attorney Christopher RamThe government has backed down from its own challenge for chartered accountant Christopher Ram and Kaieteur News to conduct a forensic audit into the construction of the US$12.5 M Enmore Packaging Plant. Its excuse is that the Auditor General has not given approval.“Please be advised that the Auditor General has not given approval for the Forensic Audit of Project Gold to proceed,” Paul Bhim, the Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySucO) told Ram in a letter dated June 10.But Ram is insisting that a forensic investigation, tax compliance work or consulting service, does not fall within the Audit Act and therefore does not require any form of approval by the Auditor General.CEO of GuySuCo,Harry Kane Jersey UK, Paul Bhim Even on an unnecessarily wide reading of the Audit Act the Auditor General does not have a final or overriding jurisdiction in the matter,Adriano Barcelona Jersey, Ram said.According to Ram, had Mr. Deodat Sharma, the acting Auditor General, been better inclined or informed he might have advised GuySuCo that,Troy Polamalu Steelers Jersey, notwithstanding his [Sharma’s] inflated sense of his authority, the “Minister responsible for finance [could] request the Public Accounts Committee to cause an additional audit to be conducted by an auditor other than the Auditor General.”The reason for the audit arose after questions were asked about Project Gold, under which the plant at Enmore was built. Ram had raised questions about the cost and suitability of the plant.On May 24, the Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud threw out the challenge for the plant to be audited, once it does not incur any costs on the part of the government or GuySuco.Two days later, Ram accepted the challenge and Kaieteur News agreed to foot the bill.“I am not bluffing. Whenever Mr. Ram is ready, he can make contact with the Chief Executive Officer of GuySuCo, Paul Bhim, and the audit will be accommodated,” the Agriculture Minister had said.Ram met with Bhim on June 7 “to discuss the terms and conditions of the engagement” but Ram said his impression from the meeting was that GuySuCo was not interested in the exercise, with its management indicating that the Corporation would not consider itself the client.Bhim requested that Ram restate the terms in a letter and that he, Bhim, would consult with the Auditor General. Ram said he sent off the letter the following day to Bhim’s office.But, now Bhim has informed Ram that given the non-approval by the Auditor General, the audit cannot be conducted.“For my part the matter is closed as I am convinced that neither the government nor the Corporation is serious or interested in any forensic investigation of any of the Corporation’s financial transactions.“I will therefore not be part of anyone’s charade,Gary Cahill Chelsea Jersey UK,” Ram stated.The challenge by Minister Persaud came after Ram wrote that Kenya’s largest sugar miller, Mumias Sugar Company (MSC), was recently built at a cost of US$3M,Rutgers Scarlet Knights Jerseys, and consisted of a new 11-machine, state-of-the-art packaging plant with a daily capacity of 700 tonnes of sugar, or 200, 000 tonnes annually.In comparison, the Enmore plant was built at four times the cost of the one built in Kenya and would be producing five times less sugar.GuySuCo has stressed that the US$12.5M is the total cost of Project Gold, an initiative which includes the upgrade of the Enmore factory and the supply and installation of packaging equipment and warehouse, among other things.Managing Director of Kaieteur News,Alex Pietrangelo Jersey, Glenn Lall, had said that he was willing to put his personal money in the interest of transparency, accountability and decency in any public administration where public funds are involved.
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