There is an urgent need for forensic audit at City Hall

Dear Editor,
It was with utter disillusionment I watched an interview being given by Oscar Clarke to the Press after the Georgetown City Council was sworn-in.

My first disenchantment was due to the fact that he was back in the Council after all these years and not just back in the Council, but once more in the Finance Committee along with one of his cohorts who was in the same committee before, and now holding the very principal role as the Finance Chairman.

My second dissatisfaction came with his very sardonic response to a question from a reporter about the essential need for the urgent conducting of a comprehensive forensic audit of the entire Georgetown Municipality. He intimated that there was hardly a need for such, and that the Council was already carrying out its own audit.

Just in case Clarke and his new Finance Committee does not get it, the citizenry from their public outcry are not interested in a superficial, in-house sham of an inspection. Any such attempt to self-police would be like putting the proverbial cat to watch milk. What is needed is an all-inclusive, forensic financial and human resource audit to be effected by a competent and qualified external agency.

Just as Clarke’s party has commissioned a series of rigorous audits on state agencies, national projects and funds which were deemed to be tainted by some form of corruption, there is need for a serious audit of the Georgetown City Council to be effected by special teams comprised of highly qualified and competent officials, skilled in these sorts of exercises.

These recent audits which have purportedly found reckless wastage at the Government Information Agency, breaches of protocols and the absence of proper procurement procedures at GuyOil, and the astonishing scales of corruption within the departments of the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) would be dwarfed by what goes on at City Hall in terms of both structural and non-structural corruption, including graft with well-known acts of bribery, illicit kickbacks, embezzlement, and theft of public funds, nepotism with the Council being ‘a big family affair’, and the ostensible expenditure, which is actually wasteful and directed toward private benefits.

My third discontent with Clarke during the interview, was his display of conceit and disregard for the protesting workers whom he claimed do not know, and to be uninformed of their issues. It was Clarke’s duty to enquire from the workers of the nature of their problems and to summon the Council’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officers to be briefed and to have the matter resolved.
This course of action would be in keeping with the declaration by the Minister of Communities when he noted at the very swearing-in of the Councillors, that their new posts presented an opportunity for them to serve the residents of their respective constituencies as well as the City of Georgetown.

Amber Valentine