All contracts signed by caretaker APNU/AFC Govt under review
Now that it is in power, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has made it clear that they will get to the bottom of every contract signed by the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) when they were in caretaker status following the passage of the No-Confidence Motion in 2018.
In an interview with this publication, Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill noted that these contracts are engaging the attention of Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall.
“Mr Nandlall, as Attorney General, would be reviewing all of those situations… Cabinet has asked him to do that and the President has instructed him. That’s an ongoing process,” Edghill explained.
At the time these contracts were signed, the Government was in a caretaker status having lost a No-Confidence Motion in December 2018. As such, it was not supposed to be engaged in political appointments or the signing of new contracts. The former Government disregarded both conventions.
Earlier this year, Edghill had written to then Top Cop Leslie James requesting an investigation into reports that the Government has broken the law by using monies from the previous fiscal year for projects in the new year.
In the letter, Edghill had referred to reports in sections of the media that the APNU/AFC ‘Cabinet’ noted 57 contracts as of 2019-year end. Edghill pointed out that a contract was signed in 2020, for the construction of a school at Yarrowkabra.
The former MP also contended in his letter that a cheque was cut on December 31 for the construction of a school at Abram Zuil. According to him, these monies were drawn from the 2019 budget allocations. He cited Article 217 (1) of the Constitution and the Fiscal Management & Accountability Act.
Article 217 states that “No monies shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund except:
a. to meet the expenditure that is charged upon the Fund by this Constitution or by any Act of Parliament, or b. where the issue of those monies has been authorised by an Appropriation Act, or c. where the issue of those monies has been authorised under Article 219.”
Section 43 of the FMA Act, meanwhile, states that “Except as otherwise provided in this Act or in any other law, at the end of each fiscal year, any unexpended balance of public monies issued out of the Consolidated Fund shall be returned and surrendered to the Consolidated Fund.”
“Assuming that the legal requirement for the return of all unexpended monies to the Consolidated Fund at the end of the fiscal year 2019 was complied with and, therefore, a legal mechanism would have had to be utilised to make withdrawals in 2020,” Edghill wrote. “As far as I am aware, no such legal mechanism exists that allows for payment of monies for contracts awarded in 2020. It is against this backdrop that I would like to hereby request that the Guyana Police Force (GPF), immediately; launch an investigation into this matter.”
There has been no word from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) whether the issues raised in the letter have been acted upon. James has since proceeded on 307 days pre-retirement leave, with Deputy Commissioner Nigel Hoppie stepping in as acting Police Commissioner. (G3)