Monday, March 12, 2012

Last year of audited accounts Greenidge tabled related to the fiscal year 1981 and was tabled in 1987

Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh yesterday described as totally laughable, attempts made recently by former PNC Finance Minister Carl Greenidge to rewrite history as it relates to his role in the decline of this country’s economy and the mismanagement of the country’s resources during his tenure as Finance Minister from 1983 to 1992.
The Minister was referring specifically to recent attempts made by Greenidge’s to revise the well known historical fact that he had the most dismal track record when it came to public accountability. Most recently, in today’s Stabroek News, Mr. Greenidge wrote a letter making an attempt to revise history by repeating a claim that he recently made in Parliament that during his tenure audited accounts were tabled in the National Assembly. This claim flies in the face of the popularly known fact that no audited accounts were prepared for the period that Mr. Greenidge was Finance Minister.
In the letter, Greenidge’s claimed that during his nine-year tenure, eleven sets of audited accounts were tabled.
The Minister stated, “what Mr. Greenidge conveniently and opportunistically chose to omit from his letter and from his previous statement in Parliament is the fiscal years to which those audited accounts related. Had he disclosed this critical piece of information, it would have been revealed that none of the audited accounts that he claims to have tabled actually related to the fiscal years during his Ministerial tenure, but in fact related to years during which his predecessors were in office. The fact of the matter is that, during the period 1983 to 1992, Mr. Greenidge tabled audited accounts dating back to years as far back as 1975 when Frank Hope was Finance Minister. In fact, the last year of audited accounts that Greenidge tabled related to the fiscal year 1981 and was tabled in 1987, with an astonishing six year lag that made the accounts irrelevant and of no interest by the time they arrived in the Parliament”.
“What would the Public Accounts Committee been able to do with the 1981 accounts, when they finally arrived in Parliament in 1987, five years after they were legally due to be tabled in 1982?” Minister Singh asked.
Minister Singh emphasised that compliance with the legal requirement of tabling of audited accounts resumed in 1993 in relation to the 1992 accounts.
The Minister also pointed out that Anand Goolsarran, who was Auditor General in 1993 when tabling of audited accounts resumed, observed in his report for 1992 that “The last set of financial statements which was submitted for audit examination and certification was in respect of the fiscal year 1981, and the Auditor General’s report thereon was laid in the National Assembly on 18 December 1987. As a result a gap in financial reporting covering the period 1982 – 1991 existed”.
Minister Singh further emphasised that, “the bottom line therefore is that the gap in accountability, the total collapse in accountability in this country, coincided exactly with Mr. Greenidge’s tenure. There were no public accounts for the years 1982 to 1991, and Mr. Greenidge served as Minister of Finance from 1983 to 1992. Put simply, that fact alone indicates Mr. Greenidge’s singlehanded responsibility for the collapse of accountability in this country, and no amount of twisting and turning can change this fact.
“It is downright laughable at best, and intellectually dishonest at worst, for Mr. Greenidge to now try to distort history, and his convenient omission of the fiscal years relating to the audited accounts that he now claims to have tabled really tells the whole story. He has studiously avoided making any reference to the fiscal years, because they would disclose the sleight of hand he is now trying to pull on the Guyanese people,” Minister Singh added.

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