Guyana: Govt. used seven rooms at hotel to store drugs, items destroyed by termites

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Guyana: Govt. used seven rooms at hotel to store drugs, items destroyed by termites
Ocean View International Hotel

(KAIETEUR NEWS) – While it was paying $25M per month to use a house in Sussex Street as a drug bond, the APNU+AFC Government still found it necessary to store drugs at Ocean View International Hotel.

This was revealed in the Auditor General’s report covering a review of the fiscal year ended 2017.

The report was released to the National Assembly yesterday.

Within a review of the Ministry of Public Health, the Office of the Auditor General noted, “…the drugs were stored in seven hotel rooms.

The manner in which the items were packed made it difficult to conduct a stock count as the items were not arranged in manner that made them easy of access and check.

“In addition, there was evidence of termite infestation in the rooms and damages (sic) to the boxes and items stored,. The extent of the damage could not be determined at the time of physical count.”

The ministry responded that it had taken a decision to utilize the Ocean View Offsite “to store medical supplies rather than pharmaceuticals, which need A/C’s to maintain potency. The proprietors have treated the rooms against termites and rodents to avoid damage to the items.”

The Audit Office recommended that the Ministry “take immediate steps to ensure that the Stores Regulations is complied with, as it relates to the accounting for stores.”

But that was not the only problem highlighted by the Auditor General. As it turns out, the Audit Office has been unable to find formal agreement for rental of the property or the other offsite locations that were being used.

The report stated, “There was no evidence that rent was paid to the owners of the facilities and audit checks revealed that the Ministry did not enter into contracts with the owners for the storage of the items”.

The Ministry of Public Health responded that the Ministry had sought the assistance of corporate citizens to have the items stored at the offsite locations temporarily since the construction of bonds was ongoing.

The Audit Office recommended that the Ministry take action to ensure that contracts are put in place that meet the requirements of the Procurement Act 2013, especially as they relate to the terms and conditions that would indemnify the government from financial loss.

What many find strange is that the government was using Ocean View and other “offsite facilities” despite the fact that it was paying so much money for the Sussex Street Bond even though not much used to be stored there. When the media visited the bond, much space was available.

Overall, the government ended up paying over $300M for the Sussex Street Bond for which the owner paid $25M which was wholly secured from an advance he got from government.

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