Health Ministry used pencils to keep records – Auditor General Report
– $40M loss in expired drugs
The 2010 Report of the Auditor General has continued to make worrying revelations about the Bharrat Jagdeo-led administration, with poorly kept records being the order of the day.
At the Ministry of Health, drugs at the government’s storehouses were being entered into the system using pencils, with almost $40M in medicine being destroyed at one time in 2010 because of expiry.
Similar to the issue of the problematic old age pension programme which the state auditors found to be in a complete mess and was blasted in the report, the inventory keeping at the Health Ministry came under fire.
The report covers audits on the Public Accounts of Guyana and the accounts of the various ministries, departments and regions.
At the Ministry’s Kingston’s Stores, auditors discovered several entries in stock ledgers made in pencil with the records not balanced.
“In addition, there were instances where receipts and issues of stock were not recorded and there was a failure to reconcile stock ledgers with bin cards. As a result, the vital control mechanism for ensuring proper accountability for stock was not in place.”
In addition to the stores accounting, auditors carried out a physical count of items at the stores and found 31 instances of significant shortages and excesses.
“Some items of stock were not displayed on shelves or stored in a manner to enable easy verification of quantities on hand and in some cases there was no evidence of labeling.”
At the Farm Stores, although there were systems to account for receipts of issues of the drugs and medical supplies to stock ledgers, bin cards and a computerized system, the records were not updated “resulting in balances shown not being considered as reliable bases for determining the stock position at a point in time. In the circumstances, a proper comparison with physical balances could not be carried out.”
The Audit Office said that it carried out a sample check of 93 items and found discrepancies with 57 of them.
Store workers were shockingly using the computerized database as the basis to update the stock ledgers. “These ledgers are required to be independent records of transactions, which can otherwise be authenticated through the use of source documents, such as orders or requisitions, invoices and deliveries, receipts and issue notes.”
There were several issues being deleted and written over without the relevant required initials.
“During the period under review, the Ministry continued to suffer losses due to expiration of large quantities of drugs. Noteworthy was the fact that destruction of expired drugs valued at $39.955M had occurred and a large quantity of expired stock as still on hand, pending processing and destruction.”
The Ministry, in explaining the finds, said that 100% stock count was being carried out and moves were underway to fully computerize the stock inventory.
The audit also found that while the Ministry in 2010 received a large quantity of gifts, it was not until August last year that it sought to have them recorded in the Public Accounts.
Over the weekend, Kaieteur News also published startling revelations carried in the report that indicated a possible racket in the ordering of photocopied text books for schools from a particular printer.
It was found that hundreds of millions in cheques were written months before the contracts were even approved by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, a clear suggestion that the Ministry of Education could have known beforehand that the award would have gone in a certain direction.
The report has been suggesting that the poor records kept by ministries of the government could see the system manipulated, with fraud likely.
There have been instances of goods being ordered and services paid for, to the tune of billions of dollars, without proof that value for money was given, and even that goods and services were actually delivered.