MP calls for Auditor General to investigate DPI’s spending

first_imgWeeks after calls were made for a presidential probe into the operations and spending at the Department of Public Information (DPI), Opposition Member of Parliament and former Junior Finance Minister, Juan Edghill, is calling for the Auditor General to investigate the entity’s spending.Concerns were raised by staff at the DPI about spending practices and the hiring of persons affiliated to political operatives. The staffers who requested anonymity told sections of the press that monies were being spent wastefully on regular retreats and other unnecessary things.In describing DPI as an interesting outfit, the MP told Guyana Times that although staffers are hiding in the shadows due to fear of victimisation, they have called for a presidential probe but he feels such a probe would not yield any success and things could remain the same.“Because what we have is an incestuous relationship. Who are the personsOpposition MP Juan Edghillemployed at the DPI? Only if they are a rivalry between the President’s press unit and DPI and there is some desire to shakedown DPI, you might get some justice,” Edghill explained.An important observation made by the Opposition MP was the fact that DPI should have been serving the entire Government. However, the President does not rely on DPI for his public relations and press, but has an office staffed by people to work with his press and publicity unit.“So the people of Guyana are paying for DPI and the President who doesn’t trust DPI because it is headed by the Alliance For Change (AFC) and staffed mostly by AFC supporters. The Auditor General should go into DPI and audit their books,” he asserted.“Don’t let a politician investigate a politician from the same party or grouping. Look at what happened to the Sussex Street Bond. A sub-Cabinet committee investigated and said that it’s a bad deal, they had continued paying $14 million per month for the controversial drug bond.Edghill noted that these are all tactics done to appease supporters but in the end, the conclusion is already known. “The Lindo Creek CoI is another example. You can see through this Government… what is needed is an independent office which is not controlled by the politics of the day to go in there get the facts and make it public,” he added.In a letter to the media, DPI staff said, “We believe that the DPI is being badly mismanaged, and this has led to staff either resigning, being suspended, and the DPI being severely understaffed, and failing to attract newcomers, who, wePrime MinisterMoses Nagamootoobelieve, have gotten wind of the manner in which the DPI is being run. One of the main issues involves friends hiring friends of friends.”WastageIn addition to that, monies are said to be wasted on several retreats to at least two resorts, to discuss issues pertaining to the operations of DPI. It has been reported that one of those retreats saw some 20 staffers, with transportation costing some $12,000 for each staffer attending.“We believe there has also been serious wastage of financial resources on the printing of several publications, which are sent to various regions. This has added to the massive workload of DPI staffers, many of whom work practically every day, without a day off,” staff highlighted.Only recently, General Manager of the Guyana Chronicle newspaper, SherodDirector of Public Information and DPI Head Imran KhanDuncan was sent on administrative leave one day after he decided to fire a senior member of staff, Finance Controller Moshamie Maraj-Ramotar, following the leaking of details on excess spending.A full investigation was ordered into Duncan’s excessive spending and the circumstances of Maraj-Ramotar’s dismissal. Some $5 million was reportedly spent by Duncan in less than three months of his probationary period. Duncan was appointed General Manager from June 1, 2018, just before the life of the Board of Directors expired. Duncan is an Executive of the AFC.“What happened at the Chronicle is just a reflection of the lesser minions seeing what the greater minions are doing and they are following suit. The good life in Guyana only belongs to a few elite politicians and leaders who can put their hand in the kitty and do whatever they feel like,” he said.last_img read more