Report reveals unapproved spending of billions of dollars by Guyana government
GEORGETOWN – The Guyana government has been rapped for spending over $300 billion from the Lottery Fund without seeking parliamentary approval.
The lashing has come from Auditor General Deodat Sharma who has revealed that government utilized millions of dollars in revenues it earned from the Guyana Lottery Fund for the building the D’Urban Park, Georgetown, without Parliamentary approval.
In his 2015 report, which was made public by Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland, Sharma also revealed that the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) had collected $2 billion on behalf of Government, but only turned over half that amount to the Treasury.
According to Sharma’s findings, the Guyana Government earns 24 per cent of the proceeds from the Guyana Lottery Company but this money is paid into an account controlled by the Ministry of the Presidency and spent with the approval of Cabinet.
Sharma, in his report, noted that at the beginning of 2015, that account held some $1.4 billion and it received an additional $421 million in 2015.
The Auditor General said following checks on the accounts, it was found that while Government transferred $1 billion of that money to the Consolidated Fund in 2015, it held onto just over half a billion dollars to remain under the control of the Ministry of the Presidency, and spent $305 million on various activities.
According to a breakdown of the expenditure provided by the Auditor General, $36.5 million went towards the rehabilitation of D’Urban Park; $63.7 million went towards Mashramani celebrations; while another $51 million was utilized for ‘music’.
Other activities funded by the Ministry of the Presidency using the lotto proceeds related to Emancipation, Amerindian Heritage and CARIFESTA, among other celebrations.