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Pull Quote: “The Minister of Home Affairs and the Commissioner of Police should be prosecuted. They cannot legally put the money into the Welfare Fund.” – Christopher RamThe publication of a cheque drawn on the Police Welfare Fund and payable to Assistant CommissionerCommissioner of Police Henry GreeneDavid Ramnarine for the purpose of feeding in-lying police ranks has raised serious issues as it relates to the Minister of Finance.This is according to several prominent local financial experts including Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram, who is of the view that the transaction is highly suspicious since the funds disbursed should have been done in accordance with official government practices.The Ministry of Home Affairs last week issued a statement in attempt to clear the air on a contentious $90M that was drawn from the Consolidated Fund.The ministry had also published the copy of a Police Welfare Fund cheque paid to Assistant Commissioner David Ramnarine.This was after Ramnarine, who was Commander of the Police Interior Division, had indicated that he did not receive any money from the police to provide for his ranks during last November’s General and Regional Elections.“If Rohee thinks that he has embarrassed Ramnarine, he has raised serious issues of the Minister of Finance,” Christopher Ram told this newspaper.The prominent Accountant, who is also an attorney at law, explained that the government had sought the $90M under line item 6261 which caters for local travel and subsistence. This, he said, has nothing to do with the Police Welfare Fund.Payments of such nature should be done via a Bank of Guyana cheque drawn on the police account.“The Minister of Home Affairs and the Commissioner of Police should be prosecuted. They cannot legally put the money into the Welfare Fund,” Ram stated emphatically.His views are supported by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), which in a press release yesterday, supported the call for a complete audit of the $90M.According to the PNCR, the main partner in the alliance, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), the publication of a cheque for $320,000 written to Asst. Commissioner Ramnarine might have satisfied the general public that the officer did receive some money.But the party said that the issue is whether this was part of the money allocated for E&F Division, out of the $90M, for the feeding of ranks in-lying for the 28th November 2011 General and Regional Elections.Christopher RamThe PNCR stated that apart from Ramnaraine’s explanation that this cheque was received some time after 28th November 2011, it is even more concerned that the cheque was drawn on the Central Police Welfare Fund.“It should be noted that, in all of the responses from the Guyana Police Force and that of the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee, on Thursday 15th March 2012, there was no mention of the Central Police Welfare Fund.”According to the PNCR,Jerseys From China, the public was told that the $90M was used to cover expenses for three categories of expenses, which exceeded the amount approved in the 2011 National Budget.This included transportation and meals for ranks in-lying for the 28th November 2011 General and Regional Elections, with a balance of approximately $10M remaining unspent.“It was only at the Sitting of the National Assembly, on Thursday 15th March 2012, when A.P.N.U Member of Parliament, Ms. Volda Lawrence questioned the Minister of Home Affairs, that mention was made of monies ($10.5M) being allocated to the Central Police Welfare Fund,” the PNCR  statement said.“When asked what was the relationship between the Central Police Welfare Fund and feeding our Policemen and women, the Minister did not give an answer.  The Minister must come clean on the spending of this $90M allocation for our men and women who risk their lives each day for all of Guyana.”The party said that given the scanty answers presented by the Minister on the many questions asked on this matter and the several variances in amounts actually allocated to divisions E & F, there is need for an independent investigation into this matter.“This leaves the PNCR with no alternative but to request, in the interest of transparency and accountability ,Wholesale Jerseys, that the Auditor General be asked to immediately conduct an audit of this allocation of funds to the Guyana Police Force.”The Home Affairs Minister had told the National Assembly that he did not see the need for an audit of the way the $90M was disbursed. However,NFL Jerseys From China, Auditor General Deodat Sharma had told this newspaper that the Home Affairs Minister cannot prevent his office from carrying out an audit.This position has irked the Minister, who in a subsequent statement indicated that as Minister of Home Affairs, he is entitled to his opinion, which he expressed openly in the National Assembly.“A question was asked by a Member of the Opposition on the matter and I gave my candid opinion in response.”He lashed out at the Kaieteur News, claiming that the newspaper has sought to introduce “through a devious, wicked and malicious piece of journalism impugning that, in expressing my opinion I sought to prevent the Auditor General from doing whatever he wishes to do on this matter under the Laws of Guyana.”Rohee said that as far as he is concerned, the Auditor General is free to conduct his affairs as he deems necessary, adding that his response in the National Assembly had nothing to do with whether the Auditor General should or should not conduct an Audit into the matter.“It is to be regretted that the Auditor General allowed himself to be caught up in the wickedness of the Kaieteur News on this matter as it seeks to stoke the fire on the issue. My information is that the Auditor General is already at work on the matter.  I hope that every cent will be accounted for, and that save perhaps, for some breaches in accounting procedures,Wholesale Stitched Jerseys, the matter will be finally settled,” the Home Affairs Minister declared.“However, should anyone be found guilty of any malfeasance or journalistic mischief it is hoped that they will be made to answer to the public,” he asserted.Meanwhile, another financial expert, Kenrick Hunte, has questioned the way the money was appropriated.Referring to the Home Affairs Minister’s initial position on the matter,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, Hunte said that he was intrigued by the fact that the cheque allocated to buy food and cover transportation for policemen had the name D. Ramnarine Asst. Commissioner, as the payee.“My recollection of how the government accounting system worked in the past would not have permitted such madness.  Mr. Ramnarine’s name should only appear as the payee, if the entire sum was an advance to him personally to engage in government work and for which he would have produced receipts and vouchers to clear the advance,” the former banker stated in a letter to this newspaper.This approach, Hunte said, allows transparency and accountability, as an appropriate paper trail is established for government follow-up work, if the need arises.He noted that currently, the present system opens too many opportunities for fraud, as it makes the ultimate payee invisible.“What is more disturbing, however, is the fact that by placing Mr. Ramnarine’s name on the cheque, he is no longer a policeman responsible for police work at election time,Jerseys Wholesale, but he is now a supplier and accountant for non police services. What a waste of talent,” Hunte stated.He added that equally troubling is the fact that Ramnarine was turned into a ‘Fundraiser in Chief’ in the Community for which he had to apply the law of the land.“What an untenable and compromised situation to be sucked into because of failed oversight. Unquestionably, an audit is necessary and the accounting system needs to be upgraded, for policemen must be policemen and not anything else.”The Police Welfare Fund is a “slush fund” that accommodates donations to the force and caters for such issues as awards and staff welfare.“Money allocated by the government for elections purposes should not find its way into that account,” a senior police officer told this newspaper.Embattled Commissioner of Police Henry Greene has been silent since this matter into the public domain. This newspaper has been trying to seek an informed comment from him, but has been unsuccessful to date.
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