GWI sacks Chief Auditor in wake of investigations launched
… attempted to investigate senior official
The Chief Internal Auditor of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has been fired three months after he was appointed to the post, and according to reliable sources within the utility company, the decision was taken after the Chief Internal Auditor attempted to investigate a senior official at the entity.
Guyana Times understands that Anand Bharat, the GWI Chief Internal Auditor, had his appointment approved by Chairman of the Finance/Audit Committee in light of the circumstances which prevailed at the company at that time.
Bharat in his dismissal letter was told that his appointment would be rescinded since correct procedure had not been followed.
This publication further understands that Bharat was subsequently told that his appointment was supposed to have been endorsed by the Managing Director – the very official against whom he had launched an investigation.
According to internal GWI correspondences seen by Guyana Times Bharat insists that procedure had been followed and in fact considers the revoking of his appointment as a personal attack.
Bharat, who headed the GWI internal department, had proposed a new structure to the Chairman of the Board, which included the creation of the position of the Chief Internal Auditor.
The Board subsequently took a decision to advertise for the position and Bharat’s application was found to be more responsive of the two persons that had applied for the position, and as such, was recommended for the appointment.
This newspaper reported last month that GWI’s Managing Director was in fact being accused at the time of employing extraordinary measures to force out Bharat after he would have launched a series of investigations directed against him.
Bharat had been functioning in that department as the most senior functionary for just under seven years and was appointed in August last.
He was subsequently employed substantively, based on the recommendation of GWI’s Human Resources Director.
This newspaper understands that subsequently a senior official at the entity contended that the employment has in fact breached the entity’s procedures and should be rescinded and the position re-advertised since he did not approve of the appointment.
This position is however being met with staunch opposition, since it was pointed out that senior official was merely seeking retribution against the Chief Auditor who had been conducting a series of investigations with regard to decisions made by that official, specifically related to the procurement of a number of services and other contracts.
One such contract that attracted the attention of the Chief Auditor is for the construction of a well on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
Guyana Times understands that a perturbed senior official lodged complaints with GWI’s Human Resources sub-committee, complaining that the auditors are investigating him.
The senior official during a recent meeting of the sub-committee also sought to query who was the other persons engaged in the audit directed against him, specifically with regard to the issuance of a cheque.
He was reportedly informed that such action would be considered as impeding the auditor’s investigation.
The senior official was also previously accused of seeking to undermine the functioning of the audit department. According to the correspondence seen by Guyana Times, “The environment… found to be very hostile most of the times but we tried as much as possible to suppress and work around it.”
The Internal Auditors have since recommended an urgent review of GWI’s policies and procedures at all operational areas to reflect modern practices and the structural changes recently made.
The internal auditors were also reportedly subjected to constant abuse by the senior official, which essentially led to an adverse effect on staff morale. The verbal confrontations reportedly stemmed from queries and findings they would have raised relating to debt recovery, commercial services areas and Human Resources audit checks. The uproar which has erupted in the entity within recent weeks has already led to the resignation of the entity’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, who in his resignation to the substantive Minister with responsibility for the sector said he could not serve in the capacity of a ‘rubber stamp Chairman.”