…as warehouse dishonesty points to massive tax evasion – Audit ReportThe Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the past five years purchased two container scanners to improve itsThe now inoperable GRA container scannermonitoring capabilities at a cost of over US$6 million, but one is currently not operational and is, in fact, unserviceable, while the other touted as a mobile device will now have to find a stationary resting place to be shielded from the elements of weather.The startling state of affairs was uncovered by Auditor General Deodat Sharma, who during the course of auditing the national books for 2015, found that both of the container scanners were posing problems for the GRA administration.The 2015 Audit Report was made public this past week by Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, when he reconvened the sittings of the Assembly.According to Sharma in his report, in May 2010, the Administration acquired an electronic container scanner at a cost of US$1 million for the purpose of 100 per cent container scanning.The scanner, which was placed into operation in May 2011, was three years later determined to be inoperable on October 18, 2014.This was said to be due to a loss of power to the device’s electrical cabinet.The Auditor General, during the course of his audits, found too that another scanner, which was acquired in November 2013 at a total cost of US$5.3 million and placed into operation on January 4, 2014, also became inoperable on June 18, 2016.At the time of the report being released in September of this year, “the position remained the same”.Sharma in his audit report has provided an explanation proffered by the GRA, which said the “first scanner is unserviceable and is not cost-effective to repair”.With regard to the mobile scanner, the GRA informed the audit office that this one “malfunctioned because of its constant exposure to the weather conditions”.According to answers provided by the GRA, “the scanner was repaired, but currently the Authority is in the process of identifying a permanent location” for it.The Audit Office has since recommended that the GRA continue in its efforts to identify a suitable location for the scanner that would protect it from the rigours of nature.Warehouse corruptionThe Auditor General has also flagged several incidents of dishonesty at warehouses across the country which has led to instances where the payment of duties and taxes could not be verified to the tune of more than $100 million.Sharma, in his 2015 report on the accounts held by the GRA, found that there were 34 private warehouses in operation during the period under review – 17 of which were subjected to physical inspections by the Audit Office between April and July this year.The Audit Office, during the course of its investigations, found that 36 pieces of equipment and 17 vehicles valued in total $370.9 million were not found in five warehouses operated by one importer, and there was no evidence that the equipment and vehicles were released by the tax administration.Compounding the situation, the Auditor General further found that there was no evidence that duties and taxes of approximately $89.7 million were paid.According to the Auditor, “Section 100 of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01 prohibits a warehouse owner or keeper or any person in his employ from opening or gaining access to a warehouse except in the presence or with the knowledge and consent of an officer of the administration.”The Auditor General highlighted too that a total of 44 pieces of equipment valued at $312 million, with estimated taxes payable totalling $50 million, were removed from four warehouses in which they were deposited and transferred to another four without the permission of the GRA Commissioner General.“The removal of warehoused goods from one warehouse to another without the permission or knowledge of the Commissioner General represents a breach of Section 115 of the Customs Act,” the Audit Office said.Further checks revealed that 10 pieces of equipment and five vehicles physically verified in three warehouses were not traced to the warehouse registers maintained by the administration.“Efforts to ascertain the value of the equipment and vehicles proved futile, since it could not be determined the year the items were warehoused and the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) of each piece of equipment and vehicle.”
[email protected]@katmarte Claimants had to provide proof of membership for one of the four First Nations, and show they lived in Manitoba at the time. (APTN file)Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsCheques are in the mail for members of four First Nations intentionally flooded in 2011 by the Manitoba government, APTN News has learned.About 7,000 people started receiving compensation last week from a $90-million settlement for personal property.Their belongings were damaged when the then-NDP government of Greg Selinger diverted flood water into First Nations, lakefront cottage areas and farm operations to spare the capital city of Winnipeg.“They’re called disruption payments,” said lawyer Sabrina Lombardi of the payments to members of Pinaymootang (Fairford), Little Saskatchewan, Dauphin River and Lake St. Martin.“It’s an excellent settlement.”Posts on social media this week report heavy traffic at some rural post offices as claimants receive their cheques. Payments vary in size depending on whether claimants lived on or off reserve at the time of the flooding.Lombardi, of McKenzie Lake in Toronto, declined to reveal dollar amounts to protect the privacy of claimants but noted the settlement is putting “tens of thousands of dollars in the hands of those impacted.”Many evacuees from Lake St. Martin were never able to return to their homes. (APTN file)APTN has learned eligible adults can expect to receive between $42,000 and $67,000 while children get 10 per cent of that.Further compensation under the category “special circumstances” for people who suffered health problems or loss of work due to flooding is still being assessed, Lombard added.A Manitoba judge originally approved the settlement in January 2018. The settlement applies to personal belongings and not band property like housing, infrastructure and land.Compensation for those larger community losses is still being discussed.Claimants were initially expecting the payments last December when allegations of fraud put the process on hold.Lombardi, at that time, told APTN the application process would be re-opened to weed out real evacuees from fake. She wouldn’t say Tuesday how many false claims were discovered.She said interest was accruing on the settlement money in the meantime that would benefit claimants – many of whom were forced out of their homes for years.
On the occasion of the International Museum Day, the book titled, Long Exposure – The Camera at Udaipur, 1857-1957, will be formally released at the Visual Arts Gallery of India Habitat Centre by the guest of honour Venu Vasudevan, Director-General of National Museum, New Delhi in the presence of Arvind Singh, Mewar of Udaipur, Chairman and Managing Trustee of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur.The book is published by the Maharana Mewar Historical Publications Trust, under the aegis of Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation in Udaipur. It marks an important milestone in the ongoing revitalization and modernization of the City Palace Museum in Udaipur. It complements the Bhagwat Prakash Gallery of the City Palace Museum, dedicated to the display and exhibition of photographic material from the Pictorial Archives of the Maharanas of Mewar (PAMM). Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘With the Long Exposure – The Camera at Udaipur, 1857-1957 we are witness to the unfolding of another facet of Living Heritage’, said Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, adding, ‘Materials preserved in our Pictorial Archives are now being shared with Indian and global audiences. It is an ongoing process of channelizing the power of our heritage and making it relevant, meaningful to contemporary times. This, in essence, is what exemplifies living heritage and I am proud, that on the International Museum Day, we are formally releasing this publication’. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixPainstakingly documented over several years, the photographic collections of the pictorial archives of Mewar’s Maharanas constitute one of the most significant collections of early photography in India. The collection’s importance lies in its wide range – the images are not only a record of the evolution of photographic technology as it was practiced at Udaipur but also reflect the changing tastes of patrons an practitioners, and the society in which they lived and worked thus also providing important insights into the life and times of the past century. The book came about while extensive work was being done to digitize, study and preserve the existing pictorial archives. Arvind Singh Mewar wanted the collection to reach research scholars, academicians, institutions and showcase it to the public across the globe.The Long Exposure – The Camera at Udaipur, 1857-1957 is the first comprehensive introduction to this rich collection. While recalling the story of the Royal collectors and their engagement with photography, photographers and the printed image, it also traces the archiving process and subsequent study of the collection. A technical note demystifies early photographic processes and new research on the archive is presented. The documenting and digitizing of this visual material has meant that an increased access to the collections is now possible for the scholar community, students and the larger public. The book has more than 235 select photographs from the archives of tens and thousands, which is a visual and a cerebral delight to the reader.Pramod KG and Mrinalini who were documenting the collection for MMCF said ‘this book is a natural compilation which followed the curatorial work at the pictorial archives, we are grateful to MMCF and its Managing Trustee Arvind Singh Mewar without whose kind support and guidance this book would not have seen the light of day’. The team also had Girikumar as conservator providing technical inputs to PAMMS and has elaborated upon the conservation process of archiving these photographs in his chapter in the book.Where: Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre When: 18 May Timing: 6.30pm