GWI undergoing forensic audit following financial mismanagement -CEO
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) Mr. Shaik Baksh says a forensic audit is currently underway over the mismanagement of the entity’s finances by the previous administration.
The CEO made the disclosure during a press conference on Friday. He said the previous management recklessly expended funds over the last five years.
Mr. Baksh highlighted an overpayment of some $87.9 million to a contractor for the Vlissengen road pipe project and SeaQuest for $1.8 billion over four years, along with the construction of a $40 million building in Region Five.
An additional $19 million is still needed to complete that facility. Overpriced staff parties estimating over $80 million in 2018 and 2019 and overseas travelling are also under scrutiny.
“The internal auditors found that there has been double charging in the batching, mixing in transportation, huge sums of money are involved here. There were also fictitious charges inserted in transportation invoices which made us dismiss the employee left in charge of this.
There’s also questionable delivery of goods, double charging, fictitious charging and contract splitting, which is prohibited under the National Procurement Act and GWI standard rules,” he said.
Mr. Baksh said there was no reason for the previous management to sole-source products through a ‘middleman.’
SeaQuest is used to improve water quality, by reducing its iron content. It is produced by Aqua Smart Incorporated, a United States-based company that facilitated several presentations for GWI.
The CEO said “monies were not spent to maintain the water treatment plants because the management of over five years relied on a highly questionable product called SeaQuest.
They neglected to maintain the plants at Linden and so we had to do some works. Places like Grove, Eccles, Covent Gardens, we have been able to restore though more works need to be done.”
He said the entity hopes to achieve 90 per cent treated water in the coastal belt while securing investments to improve the water service in Georgetown. Next year, the company will be securing funding for a waste water treatment plant.
GWI recently issued termination letters to 76 employees, effective June 30. The employees are part of the 157 persons slated to be laid off as part of the entity’s restructuring plans.