Govt. reneges on promise to provide more scrutiny for state agencies
Sep 24, 2017 , https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...-for-state-agencies/
Earlier this year, following revelations of corruption at the Guyana Gold Board (GGB), Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, told Kaieteur News that the government decided to provide more scrutiny for top officials of state agencies.
Indeed, Trotman did not say how exactly the government was planning to go about providing the much needed scrutiny. But what he did say was that there will be policy to that effect.
Five months later, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, has confirmed that what Trotman spoke about has not really materialized.
As far as Harmon knows, Government is continuing along the same road it was travelling since entering office, nothing has changed.
At last week’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Harmon was asked what increased measures of scrutiny have the government been able to implement. The Minister responded, “The extent to which government has a role in the selection of the members of the boards, it is to that extent we would exercise any amount of leverage.”
He continued, “The boards are independent bodies and they function in an independent way. We do not intervene in the work of these boards. From time to time, the boards will require advice from the subject ministers and in some cases the subject ministers would come to Cabinet for that advice and Cabinet provides the advice.
“But in so far as the operation of these boards it is for them, it is for these boards once they have been identified and it has been published in the official gazette, we expect that they would put in place mechanisms to prevent corrupt practices and corrupt transactions.”
This goes contrary to the decision Trotman has claimed government made.
Trotman had said that all ministers of the APNU+AFC government are working to make sure that they can institute the highest levels of scrutiny at the various agencies for which they are responsible.
He told Kaieteur News that the implications of some officials at the GGB have highlighted the need for strengthened policies but “we knew that this was something that needed to be done.”
Trotman was asked if he sees the need to now beef up measures of scrutiny for the top brass of agencies falling under his ministry, the Minister answered in the affirmative. He added, “I believe that several ministries, not just mine, are working on making sure that there is more scrutiny. There are problems at all ministries where there are finances.”
The Minister continued, “I think we all have to be vigilant and to tighten our systems. It is an ongoing effort on the part of government ministers to have tight systems in place to minimize or prevent impropriety but in the current case we have been asked to cooperate with an investigation and we are doing so. We are quite interested in the findings of the investigation.”
The investigation Trotman referred to was one launched after three of the most senior officials of the GGB were sent on administrative leave as the police dug deeper into police investigations into alleged money laundering activities of gold dealer, Saddiqi ‘Bobby’ Rasul.