$19M CCTV cameras purchased by APNU/AFC in 2015 undelivered

…money taken from Contingency Fund as “emergency”

It has been over five years since the then Ministry of the Presidency paid $19.1 million for Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) camera systems, but the camera systems have never been delivered, and the money has not been recovered.

Office of the President

The matter came up before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, where it was explained by Permanent Secretary of the now renamed Office of the President, Abena Moore, that attempts to address the matter with former Attorney General Basil Williams went nowhere.
However, she said that current Attorney General Anil Nandlall will be engaged.
“I wrote to the Attorney General’s Office at that time and I subsequently followed up and kept following up. I have not followed up as of last year. But this is a matter that was entered into, and the CCTV systems have never arrived. According to the research we did, the company filed for bankruptcy,” she said.

PS of the Office of the President, Abena Moore

“The last thing I heard from the Attorney General Chambers, they were trying to see if there was a sister company in the US, if they could have tracked it down. But the last information I received, they were not successful at that time. I’m going to raise it with the current Attorney General to see if we can have some movement on this matter.”
These very CCTV cameras were purchased in December 2015 from a company called Moonblink Communication Incorporated with money taken from the Contingency Fund for an “emergency”. The matter has been before the PAC since 2017. Under questioning, Moore provided the name of the company and its principals.
“(The contract was awarded on) the 14th of December, 2015. Moonblink Communication Incorporated. The names of the persons (principals of company) are Shaun Birkett and Sean Nolan,” the PS said.
PAC Chairman Jermaine Figueira, as well as fellow Members Gail Teixeira and Ganesh Mahipaul, meanwhile urged the PS to ensure that all steps are exhausted before a write off of the money is even considered.

Former President David Granger

There are strict rules governing the Contingency Fund. But in the 2015 Auditor General’s Report, it was found that Government made withdrawals that totalled over $900 million from the Fund. Besides the money for the CCTV cameras, monies were also used for expenses related to the Army, the Durban Park Project, and the infamous Sussex Street bond.

Former Prime Minister
Moses Nagamootoo

According to Section 220 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana, “Parliament may make provision for the establishment of a Contingencies Fund and for authorising the Minister responsible for finance to make advances from that Fund if he is satisfied that there is an urgent need for expenditure for which no other provision exists.”
Section 220 (2) goes on to say that “Where any advance is made from the Contingencies Fund, a supplementary estimate shall, as soon as practicable, be laid before the National Assembly by Prime Minister or any other Minister designated by the President for the purpose of authorising the replacement of the amount so advanced”.
In addition, Section 41 (3) of the Fiscal Management and Accountability (FMA) Act states, “The Minister, when satisfied that an urgent, unavoidable and unforeseen need for expenditure has arisen – (a) for which no monies have been appropriated or for which the sum appropriated is insufficient; (b) for which monies cannot be reallocated as provided for under this Act; or (c) which cannot be deferred without injury to the public interest, may approve a Contingencies Fund advance as an expenditure out of the Consolidated Fund by the issuance of a drawing right.” (G3)