Before you sign any document, consult and double consult with your colleagues

first_imgDear Editor,In the current dispensation, the life of this caretaker/ interim Government comes to an end on the midnight hour of September 18, 2019. In its place, we would be having an illegitimate government replacing it, unless there are free and fair elections. An illegitimate government does not have the power to make any appointments, any policy decisions, or enter into any contracts on behalf of the people of Guyana.So, the question is, can the accounting officers or head of budgetary agencies (public officers) make payments on contracts signed after June 18, 2019? Chapter 73:02 called the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act (FMAA) is the primary law that prescribed what public officers can and cannot do with public funds. The first thing that these responsible officers have to ascertain is if the contract is legally enforceable. My recommendation to them would be – seek independent legal advice on the CCJ judgement and what it means for all contracts signed after June 18, 2019.Article 11 of the FMAA clearly states how public officers operate. He or she must promote the proper use of public funds at all times. Funding of unauthorised contracts signed during an unauthorised period during the life of the caretaker/interim Government can be challenged and those public officers can be surcharged for such activities. When the life of the caretaker/interim Government expires on the midnight hour of September 18, 2019, and if this Granger group occupies their offices, they shall automatically morph into a gang of illegitimate usurpers and impostors. Under such conditions everything changes.The law is very clear, only the current budget shall be supported for routine payments on contracts signed before June 18, 2019 (salaries, fuel, stationary etc) and that right expires on midnight of December 31, 2019. It then mutates into a situation where only 1/12 of the previous year budget can be spent on these routing activities like salaries etc. With respect to the capital budget, only those contracts signed before June 18, 2019 must be honoured. Any capital works contract signed after June 18, 2019 MUST NOT BE PAID. If paid the public officers can and will be surcharged.On these illegitimate contracts, the law provides for them to be treated as fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation of funds and thus can carry with it a jail sentence for public officers. That is why I am taking this opportunity to highlight for all permanent secretaries, regional executive officers and heads of department, with cheque signing powers, to cease and desist from paying on all contracts signed after June 18, 2019, since they can be surcharged and even jailed for proceeding along this line.It is not business as usual and public officers must seek legal guidance to ensure their self-interests are protected. At the end of the day, who signed the contracts and payment documents will be the ones who will feel the full brunt of the law. So, my appeal to all public officers, before you sign any document, consult and double consult with your colleagues. Great resource personnel remain the Office of the Auditor General and in-house legal teams. At all times ask yourself, what is the legitimate instrument of authority empowering you to act or not act.May the forces of reason and good always be with our public officers so that they do the right thing and not fall victim to their political bosses. It would be a most unfortunate thing to see professionals in the lock-ups because they do not understand their role or choose to act political and not carry out their work with due care.Regards,Sasenarine Singhlast_img

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