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AG offers recommendation to new city council to get accounts in order – Guyana Times

…council urged to consider outsourcing work on asset register

Months after Local Government Elections (LGE) 2023 and with a new Mayor in town, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has been given recommendations by Auditor General Deodat Sharma on the way forward to get its accounts in order.
For years, concerns have been raised by Auditor General Sharma about the lack of financial accountability at City Hall. In an interview with Guyana Times on Wednesday, the Auditor General revealed that he recently met with the new Mayor, Alfred Mentore, and his finance team.
During that meeting, Sharma explained that he gave City Hall a way forward to settle its accounts, which they will present to the Council and return with feedback to the Audit Office.

Auditor General Deodat Sharma (left) and Georgetown Mayor Alfred Mentore

“They’re taking it back to the Council. The Mayor himself was there. And the Chairman of the Finance Committee. So, we’ll explore different areas that they could look into, including I’ve advised them maybe they need to contract out: the idea of somebody coming in and doing the asset register, etc.”
The Auditor General noted that at present, the City Council’s accounts carry a disclaimer. He explained that guidance was given to the City Council on the steps it needed to take to address this.
“One of them is they need to get their asset register. And I’ve advised them that come the end of the year, what they intend to do. They need to do a stock count, cash count, a new financial statement so we can prepare that financial statement,” the Auditor General said.

“At present the City Council carries a disclaimer account. And some of the drafts for (previous) years are still a disclaimer. So, unless you fix those items, one of the major ones is the asset register. So, if you don’t have a proper asset register, you will continue to get a disclaimer.”
For consecutive years, Auditor General Sharma has repeatedly flayed City Hall for not submitting financial statements and documents necessary to fully audit the Council’s books. In fact, City Council did not submit financial statements to the Audit Office for 2006, 2008 to 2011, 2017 and 2020, making it impossible to effectively edit the millions of public funds that have passed through the Council’s hands.
In addition, a Special Audit Report of the Auditor General for the years 2019 and 2020, sent in April 2022 to Town Clerk Candace Nelson had stated “Financial statements were submitted for the year 2018 and 2019. However, they were subsequently returned to M&CC on 27 August 2021 for non-compliance with International Accounting Standards.”

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh had provided a breakdown of the financial support provided by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government to support the citizens of Georgetown.
During the period 2020 to 2022, the Government expended over $6 billion to construct and rehabilitate roads in Georgetown. Between 2020 and 2022, the Government expended $155 million to reconstruct and rehabilitate bridges, $1 billion to enhance the old Railway Embankment, $1.6 billion on enhancement works along Independence Boulevard, Cemetery Road, and internal roads, Albouystown, Georgetown; and $250 million on enhancement works along Kingston Seawall.
Between 2021 and 2022, the Administration also expended $678 million to operate and maintain the main drainage system in the municipality and $600 million to upgrade the water transmission lines in Georgetown. It also stood the cost of $510 million for solid waste management. (G3)

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