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Army defends non-submission of some log books to PAC

GDF’s accounting officer Commander Vernon Burnett

The non-submission of some logbooks from the Guyana Defence Force to the Auditor office of Guyana was among the issues ventilated on Monday morning when the Public Accounts Committee met on Monday.

The Public Account Committee is examining the 2016 Audit Office report and several agencies that were left to be examined when the 2018 PAC ended.

These books are expected to track the usage of GDF’s vehicles and including tracking fuel used as well as its maintenance history.

The Auditor General had cited the absence of logbooks for 32 vehicles from the GDF in its 2016 report.

PAC Member Juan Edghill in questioning the GDF’s accounting officer Commander Vernon Burnett asked him to explain what Edghill described as a “lapse in the system”. Commander Burnett admitted that there was a lapse, in fact the AG office said there were improvements in the submission of log books but said that more can be done.

Commander Burnette told the committee some of the books do have sensitive information.

“I want to also indicate that there were some logbooks that we did not provide for scrutiny, those log books were for vehicles from the military criminal investigation department, the Chief of Staff and the G2 Branch, the intelligence corps and the reason for that is that those vehicles are usually involved in sensitive operations,” the accounting officer told the Committee.

Member Gail Teixeira told the Committee that in relation to sensitive situations related to some log books, the issue can be raised at the level of the National Security Committee or the National Defense Board then taken to the Cabinet.

Ultimately it has to return to Parliament for approval she said but this should provide the necessary insulation for the sensitive material.

Member Edghill maintained that the Auditor General bears the same privilege as Chancellor and Chief Justice and as he said that special arrangements could have been made for specific persons to audit those books.

Meanwhile, some of the logbooks were also not submitted since some of those vehicles were at border locations while others that went into maintenance had external contractors Commander Burnett explained.

He said too that the GDF has instituted a fleet management system that “tracks everything that is done with regards to our fleet and we have since implemented also a tracking system for all our vehicles that can tie everything together, where our vehicles have gone, what they have done and tie it back to the logbooks and the fleet management system”