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Although a special audit was recently completed within its Bursary, the University of Guyana is yet unable to determine the total finances contained in its coffers. And according to Vice Chancellor Professor Jacob Opadeyi, “we may never be able to know, ” even as he disclosed that as of yesterday the University owes its debtors a total of just over $480 million.“We know because our debtors are keeping that information, ” said Professor Opadeyi, Off White Vapormax Retail Price, who disclosed that it is the hope of the university that the debt will be written-off by Government or by other means.UG’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob OpadeyiThe debt, the Vice Chancellor disclosed yesterday, includes University workers’ deductions which should have been forwarded to the National Insurance Scheme, the Guyana Revenue Authority and pension, as well as the cost for using the services provided by security services, the Guyana Power and Light Inc. and the Guyana Water Inc. The University’s failure to pay part-time salaries has since amounted to a $50 million debt, Professor Opadeyi added.He was at the time speaking at a press conference held at the University’s Education Lecture Theatre where he categorically stated that there is a complete financial breakdown at the tertiary institution.The existing state of affairs, he said, is premised on the fact that there is a total lack of system control in the accounting processes, which were reflected in the findings of the special audit. The audit revelations among other things highlighted that more than $12 million in salary cheques were not uplifted by employees, according to Professor Opadeyi. “When you are managing a bursary and you have people not collecting their salaries within two weeks (it) must raise an alarm…The alarm should be do we have ghost workers? Why would anybody in the current state of Guyana and UG not collect their salaries?” the VC asked.The special audit was conducted within the Bursary of the University of Guyana, which contributed to a decision by the University’s Council to terminate the contracts of its Bursar and the Chief Accountant.At the press conference yesterday Professor Opadeyi affirmed that he recommended that the two officers be terminated since according to him, both are guilty of unethical practices over a prolonged period.Opadeyi said that over the past month he had deliberately refrained from speaking to the media as it relates to a number of concerns publicised of the university, including the findings of the special audit. He explained that his resistance was due to the fact that “I wanted to get all my facts correct before I say anything.”Alluding specifically to the special audit, which was initiated to examine the financial state of the University, Professor Opadeyi disclosed yesterday that it was divided into three phases, with the final phase ending on Friday last. The special audit was conducted on a pro bono basis by experts from the University of the West Indies who are familiar with the operation of a Bursary.The findings of the special audit, the VC noted, has revealed that not only has the university been placed in financial jeopardy, but it runs the risk of being blacklisted by potential financial donors.“The area of donor money is a sour point because we are not using monies we got from donors properly or giving proper accounting for the services we provide to them.”He disclosed too that the administration of donor funding is something that is particularly worrisome to him.  He explained that donor funding is an opportunity for the university to get grant money to expand its facilities, adding that “if we cannot provide proper accounting to the donors we might be blacklisted and this is something I want to avoid and this was the essence of the special audit.”Way forwardThe audit, Professor Opadeyi said, has afforded the University a long list of recommendations on the way forward in terms of fixing the financial atmosphere, and this has been brought to the attention of Government.  This is essential, he stressed, since implementing the recommendations require money and crafting of policies.And in order to put policies in place, the services of a consultant will be recruited, the VC disclosed.“These all require money and we have been looking into how much it will cost and the arrangement is that once the university presents its plan on how to move forward the Government will come in to our rescue.”And the audit has already proven to be a crucial mechanism aimed at plugging the financial leakages. Opadeyi said that he has even beckoned the Government to not put any finances into the institution until the financial system is reconstructed otherwise “the money will just disappear and we won’t know where it has gone.” As such, he noted that his earlier calls for an increase in tuition fees is currently irrelevant until the University is clear on the cost required for its optimum operation.In the meantime, the Vice Chancellor said that moves are being made to review the organisational state of the Bursary and hire competent staff who are qualified to manage the affairs of the university.And although the special audit was intended to merely look at the financial state of the university, Opadeyi said that a forensic audit is not being ruled out to determine who actually pilfered the university finances.“Right now I just want to start afresh with our Bursary and get the support that we need to run the business of the university, ” the VC asserted.

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