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As the Forensic audits into several state agencies continue to unearth underhand transactions, Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma has made it clear that no agency Head can hide behind the excuse of the past Government influencing their actions, when they should have known better as technocrats.NFMU Head,Valmikki SinghIn an interview with Kaieteur News, Sharma pointed out that as technocrats; Heads of Government Agencies have a responsibility to know whether the Government’s instruction to them violates the law and to advise the Government accordingly. Failing to do so, he said,Soccer World Cup Jerseys, makes them part and parcel of the corruption.Sharma’s statements follow claims made by National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) Head Valmikki Singh, that the then Presidential Secretariat gave him instructions to expend the entity’s money on unrelated projects.Kaieteur News had reported last week that the forensic audit into NFMU revealed some “glaring acts of corruption”; specifically that the unit spent millions of dollars on two controversial ICT projects pursued by the then Peoples Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government.The two projects, the One Laptop Per Family project and the Fibre Optic Cable from Brazil to Guyana, were part of the PPP’s e-governance initiative. The projects faced much criticism. During the initial phases, they were plagued by the effects of numerous setbacks and poor decisions.Singh did not deny his role but stated that his agency acted on the instructions of the past Government to fund the mostly operational costs for the e-governance projects. He had also stated that every request for payment submitted for the ICT projects pre May 11, 2015 were approved by the secretariat.However, Sharma noted that the action was a breach of the entity’s financial regulations governing how and what money could be spent on, and of the Public Corporations Act of 1988. He noted that NFMU is governed by an Act, but that Singh in cohort with the Government expended millions on unrelated projects.“No Minister (or Government) can cover you from breaking the law. So if you decide to take the instruction, then you are part and parcel of corroborating, building and carrying out the illegal activity.” Sharma said. He added,Cheap MLB Jerseys China, “It is not right to say that even if you get the signature of the Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS) you will carry out an illegal act.”The Junior Finance Minister asserted that even if the President’s signature was provided, since Singh is a technical person, he ought to know that the instruction was not consistent with the Act by which his agency is governed.“That is what the NFMU Head was supposed to be doing. Every time he gets an instruction, he is supposed to know the Act,” Sharma said,Wholesale Jerseys, adding that Singh should have also checked the Act to make sure that the instruction was relevant.“And if it is not relevant, you have to write to your boss and say that it’s not relevant,” Sharma posited.“In corporate governance and public service,NFL Jerseys Supply, ministries do have to take instructions from the government, but whatever instruction Government gives to the Ministry, it must be lawful.”He noted that while refusal by a Government/State official to carry out instructions from a Minister could lead to dismissal on the grounds of insubordination, acquiescence was dependent on the instruction being lawful.“This is what I would want (to have seen) from him, if he could show that he wrote to the secretariat saying that this instruction is not in relation to his organization’s scope,” Sharma stated, adding that blame could have then been solely attributable to the then HPS.As it is,Cheap NHL Jerseys, Sharma stated that the previous HPS, Dr. Roger Luncheon, could hide behind the cover that Singh did not advise him that the transfer of the sums was not in keeping with the Act.“The HPS could say, you are my advisor and you did not advise me. So that explanation cannot protect him.”Sharma knocked the explanation even further, questioning why Singh was being paid a handsome US$4500 or $900,000 GYD per month salary, when he did not employ his technical expertise to advise the then administration that transferring the money was unlawful.“I don’t know why he was being paid all that money, if Government can just tell him to do something and he will go ahead and do it. He is not a messenger. He is the Head of NFMU. He is the technical person and the buck stops at him,” Sharma said. “If it’s wrong,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, it’s wrong.”The forensic audit into the NFMU found that “almost 90 percent of the funds of the Frequency Management Unit dating back to 2012 were spent on two projects that had absolutely nothing to do with the agency.”The fibre optic cable which was started in 2011 was intended to bring another source of internet connectivity to Guyana. It should have been completed by 2013, but turned out to be a major embarrassment for the previous administration, after it faced delays due to damage and other technical issues.
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