Corruption exposed with Govt’s school feeding programme

In Paramakatoi, Kato

…millions of dollars unaccounted for

State auditors who embarked on an investigation targeting the National School Feeding Programme have bared major “spending” inconsistencies plaguing the programme in two remote villages in Region Eight during the period 2016/2017.
Millions of dollars continue to be injected into the initiative ($1.3 billion and $1.9 billion in the years 2016 and 2017 respectively) which was implemented in the ten administrative regions following its relaunch in 2010 by former Head of State Bharrat Jagdeo.
Notwithstanding the original aim of the programme, coordinators in the cited region have reportedly been abusing the responsibility and power vested in them.
Particular scrutiny into the expenditures for each meal revealed outrageous costs attached to same, raising further queries as to whether right procurement procedures were adhered to in the contract-awarding stage, among other issues.
According to media reports, funds allocated to the feeding programme for newly constructed Kato Secondary School was diverted to the other areas and utilised as such.
The state auditors report was recently handed over to the Administration but it is yet unclear whether auditors have recommended further investigations by police, and even the preferring of criminal charges.
The present Administration has vowed a zero tolerance for non-performance and corruption against public servants. In fact, former Region Eight Regional Executive Officer (REO) Rafel Downes was sacked earlier this year following issues surrounding overpayment of salaries and deductions. (Paula Gomes)