101 undocumented employees receiving salaries at Health Ministry
May 30, 2017 , http://www.kaieteurnewsonline....-at-health-ministry/
Yesterday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) learnt that the Ministry of Public Health has been paying salaries to 101 staffers for whom the Auditor General (AG)’s office could not find any employment files for over two years.
During the PAC session at Parliament Chambers, Permanent Secretary of the Public Health Ministry Collette Adams was asked to explain why after more than two years the files are still not available.
Adams said that her ministry has serious issues with filing due to the copious information that has to be stored. Further, the PS explained that she will continue in her efforts to locate the information the committee is seeking.
This explanation did not find favour with committee member Juan Edghill, who wondered if there were serious issues with the human resources department at the ministry and why the files can’t be found.
Edghill said it was important that the AG scrutinize this information to ensure that the individuals are properly employed and are a part of the Ministry’s establishment. Further, he said that the committee should know what salaries these persons are receiving and if they are permanent employees or otherwise.
The PAC member said that the officials before the committee at the time were told that they were to appear before the PAC and for the PS to ask for more time to present the requested information is an affront to the committee and a delaying tactic.
At this juncture of the questioning, another PAC member, Jermaine Figueira, in an obvious defence of the PS, said that he was satisfied with the answer provided by Ms Adams.
“Well I’m not satisfied,” Edghill said, even as Figueira was still on the floor making his point. The Chairperson quickly interjected and ask that there be no cross talking in the chamber.
Pauline Sukhai, who was deputizing for Chairman Irfaan Ali who had left earlier, explained to the PS that she (Adams) knew she was coming to PAC and should have been more prepared. Sukhai said when information is supplied to the PAC in writing, the committee loses the opportunity to probe and get a better feel of the true situation.
As the probe continues as to the whereabouts of the 101 files, Edghill said that the Human Resources director should have formed part of the Ministry’s delegation before the PAC. He said that the absence of such an official was not a matter for the PAC, but it was the accounting officer (PS) who has chosen not to have such an official present.
Edghill’s contribution on the issue was interrupted after PAC member Figueira said that he should stop his lecturing to the committee and the official.
An incensed Edghill asked if he was not allowed to speak and said he was dissatisfied with the constant ‘I will get this information to you later’.
The PS then assured the committee that the employment files information will be made available at the earliest possible time. Edghill asked that when the information is being submitted, the ministry should also state how long these persons have been employed at the ministry, their salaries, and if they are permanent staff or contract employees.