Feb 04, 2017  kaieteur News

 It is hard for some to swallow that the dreadful state in which forensic auditors found the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) was largely, the doing of one person and not a natural disaster.

Throughout their report, forensic auditors from Nigel Hinds Financial Services
(NHFS) documented how former Chief Executive Officer, Keith Burrowes, misused his authority, made numerous ad hoc decisions and essentially, treated the entity like his private business.
According to the audit report which was released by the Ministry of Finance, yesterday, Burrowes’s tenure at Go-Invest was one where “ad-hoc and peculiar decisions” were made in several areas.
These include the issuing of a Memorandum of Understanding by an Investment Officer; sending Initial Investment proposals directly to the Minister of Finance instead of the Commissioner General of Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA); exclusively managing the recruitment, selection and hiring of staff, among others – all without the approval of his Board of Directors at the time.
It was also discovered that there was no clear policy at Go Invest for remuneration of employees. Burrowes dealt with this process in a “discretionary” manner. He made it seem as though his Human Resources Officer was redundant.
Elaborating further, forensic auditors said that the hiring function was conducted in an ad hoc manner thus allowing the former CEO to solely make hiring decisions. In fact, Burrowes sourced applicants, invited and conducted interviews for new hires by himself, instead of utilizing the Administrative Department.
The interview committee comprising the CEO, Accountant/Personnel Officer and a Senior Investment Officer was rarely utilized. Burrowes also re-designated employees and fixed new allowances for them. Additionally, the Accountant/Human Resources Officer/Administrative Officer had little or no input in the recruitment and selection process.
It was also discovered that repairs and maintenance of vehicles were performed by mechanics “sole sourced” by Burrowes instead of being tendered.
The auditors noted that the Guyana Office for Investment is a statutory body that was established in 1994, under the 1988 Public Corporations Act to replace Guyana Manufacturing and Industrial Development Authority (GUYMIDA), with a mission to contribute to Guyana’s Economic Development by promoting and facilitating local and foreign private sector investment and exports.
The forensic auditors concluded that after 20 years of operations, Go-Invest has failed to fulfill its mandate and the organization is plagued with poor Governance, mismanagement, no strategic plan, an absence of Standard Operating Procedures for the different departments and no policy for the of Investment Agreements, which is compounded by an appalling filing system for investor documents. (Kiana Wilburg)