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Jun 15, 2009

Stinging report on Venezuelan Grant Programme

Story PictureA special report will be tabled at the next sitting of the House of Representatives which is likely to resurrect the hot political issue millions of dollars granted to the past administration by the government of Venezuela. The grant totaled twenty million US but only ten million went to the government treasury and the remaining was used to settle a debt with UHS. The report, prepared by the office of the Auditor General on the 2007 Venezuelan Grant Programme, is one hundred and six pages long, and is critical of the way the grant was spent, or more precisely misspent. According to the report, of the twenty million dollars brought to account in the Consolidated Revenue Fund some seventeen point nine million were allocated by way of supplementary warrant and posted to activities for home improvement and housing projects. The Auditor General found this in contravention of the Finance and Audit Reform Act under which the maximum funds legally authorized for expenditure without House approval is five hundred thousand dollars. The report also finds that total expenditures in respect of records presented for inspection amounted to twelve point three million dollars. The remaining two million dollars was not allocated. It also found that the two million dollars for an athletic track went instead for a mobilization fee for an indoor sporting complex. In respect of the operating procedures, the Auditor General found that standard procedures were disregarded, technical inspection of proposed works was not completed and officers other than CEOs’ approved housing applications. The report lists at least eighty eight persons who received anywhere from two thousand to eight thousand dollars, and an addition three hundred and thirty persons, some senior public officers, who received multiple housing loans. And according to the Auditor General, the first approval of payments on the Smart Stream Accounting System were overridden with the consent of the Accountant General.

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