… still to account for millions not returned to TreasuryChief Executive Officer of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Allan Johnson has failed to comply with an order of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to submit records substantiating that the institution did in fact return millions of dollars to the Treasury in compliance with the financial laws of the land.The glaring financial discrepancy was raised by the Auditor General in his 2015 report and queried by the Public Accounts Committee on Monday last.Johnson and his Finance Director had differing versions of whether all unspent money allocated to the entity had been returned to the Treasury at the end of the year.Johnson had told the Committee that all of the unspent money for 2015 and 2016 had been returned to the Treasury; his Finance Director claimed otherwise and none were able to produce the corroborating documents.Checks with the Parliamentary Committee Division on Thursday revealed that none of the requested information has been submitted by the Hospital’s CEO or a designate.PAC Member and former Minister within the Finance Ministry, Bishop Juan Edghill has since charged that Johnson was deliberately being evasive on political instructions in order to frustrate the work of the PAC as it probed the Auditor General’s findings with regards discrepancies in the institution’s spending of taxpayers’ dollars in recent years.Either that or he is grossly incompetent, according to the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) member of the PAC.Edghill told Guyana Times “any Accounting Officer worth his salt would arm himself with the necessary personnel and information in order to adequately address the audit queries when appearing before PAC.”The former Minister in the Finance Ministry told this publication that Johnson would have known about the query at least six months ago when the audit findings would have been turned over to that institution.PAC Chairman, Opposition Member of Parliament Irfaan Ali questioning the GPHC officials on MondayHe further charged that the institution would have been subject to ‘exit interviews’ with the Audit Office over the discrepancies raised.Supporting his claim of a political hand pulling the proverbial strings, Edghill drew reference to the fact that GPHC is currently under intense scrutiny by the PPP/C opposition particularly over its procurement of drugs and pointed to a recent incident where members of a Parliamentary Sectoral Committee was prevented from inspecting GPHCs storage bond.The former Government Minister said the PAC will be making its recommendations when preparing its report for the Full House of the National Assembly.In that report, according to Edghill, recommendations may be made for disciplinary action, whether departmentally or criminally, whether fines should be paid or the hospital CEO surcharged.The former Government Minister said too that the Finance Secretary, Dr Hector Butts is also empowered to act under the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.He told Guyana Times in an exclusive interview on Thursday that he was yet to receive any notification from the Clerk of Committees as it relates to whether Johnson did in fact lay over documents promised to that parliamentary body – to be submitted on Tuesday last.On Monday last during the PAC meeting when the GPHC officials failed on numerous occasions to provide specific answers on spending undertaken by the Hospital in 2015, Chairman Irfaan Ali intervened and brought the proceedings to a close before ousting Johnson.The PAC Chairman was adamant the GPHC’s CEO, “is trying to frustrate the PAC, I believe the CEO, you, you are disrespectful… you came here before you know who are the relevant offices that need to be before PAC.”According to Ali, “this behaviour would not be tolerated; I will not allow you to waste the PAC time… we are going to ask you to leave this morning and we are going to get back to you and we hope you come back prepared the next time.”He used the occasion to draw to Johnson’s attention the fact the public was an integral stakeholder in the process.By the end of the PAC session, Edghill posited that the postulations on the part of the Hospital CEO could have been very deliberate, “coming to PAC this morning with one member of staff who is not capable and in possession of all of the information”.
Naomi Osaka’s maiden Grand Slam triumph was overshadowed by a teary-eyed, angry and raged Serena Williams as a drama-filled women’s singles final was played out at the US Open in Flushing Meadows.Osaka had grown up on Serena’s tennis and idiolised her to the extent of saying ‘I love you’ to her ahead of the biggest moment of her career. However, by the end, Osaka was reduced to tears, not because she had won but because of the controversy surrounding Serena.Serena first got into an argument with the chair umpire Carlos Ramos after he gave her a warning as he spotted her coach Patrick Mouratoglou making some hand signals from the player’s box.She was then given a point penalty for smashing her racket and then she was handed a game violation after she called the umpire a “liar” and a “thief”.Despite all of that, Osaka held her nerves, served out the match 6-2, 6-4 to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title and then let her emotions take over.US OPEN 2018 WOMEN’S FINAL: REPORT | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOSStanding at the podium, waiting for the presentation to start, Osaka lowered her cap teary-eyed with all the boos around the court.”Everyone was cheering for her, I am sorry it had to end like this,” Osaka said during the on-court trophy presentation. “It was always my dream to play Serena in the U.S. Open finals so I am just so glad I was able to do that.”advertisementUndoubtedly Osaka was the better player on the day. Right from the start, Osaka came out with a purpose and she fulfilled it even amidst a hoard of distractions.”I really didn’t hear anything that was going on … I felt like I really had to focus during this match because she’s such a great champion, and I know that she can come back from any point,” Osaka told reporters.”I was just trying to focus on myself at that time.”As Osaka held on to the trophy, there was only a little smile on her face. She did not look happy instead the 20-year-old was devastated by how things had unfolded around her moment of glory and had spoiled it.Her hollow heart did not leave her even after the trophy presentation and perhaps it is this genuineness and innocence that has made her an endearing figure.”She really wanted to have the 24th Grand Slam, right? Everyone knows this. It’s on the commercials, it’s everywhere,” said Osaka.”When I step on the court, I’m not a Serena fan – I’m just a tennis player playing another tennis player. But when I hugged her at the net, I felt like a little kid again.”@Naomi_Osaka_ lets us into her heart…#USOpen pic.twitter.com/GlCigEQUivUS Open Tennis (@usopen) September 9, 2018″Like, when I step onto the court, I feel like a different person, right? I’m not a Serena fan. I’m just a tennis player playing another tennis player.”But then when I hugged her at the net… [Osaka went quite, holding back her tears] Anyway, when I hugged her at the net, I felt like a little kid again.”This was Osaka’s first Grand Slam final and experts wondered how she would react to the pressure of the big stage but in the end, it was Serena who said she would take lessons from this match.”She was so focused. I think, you know, whenever I had a break point, she came up with some great serve,” said Williams.”Honestly, there’s a lot I can learn from her from this match. I hope to learn a lot from that.”(With Reuters inputs)