KSAMC calls in more external auditors

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KSAMC calls in more external auditors

Monday, June 29, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Auditors from the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development are scheduled to begin a probe today into the operations of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC).

CEO of the KSAMC Robert Hill says the auditors have been invited to assess the operations of the municipality, including places of amusement licences, markets and arcades collections and the procurement of goods, services and works.

In a release this morning, Hill said the overall aim of the audit is to review the operational effectiveness of the municipality, its purchasing functions, and assess the collections and management of its markets and arcades.

Chairman of the KSAMC, Delroy Williams, stated that the audit will assist the municipality in establishing and improving effective internal control systems and to design and implement controls to prevent and detect fraud.

“We have invested heavily in projects; particularly our markets, and we want to ensure that we will be receiving value for money. We also want to ensure that internally we have effective and responsible systems of checks and balances as it relates to procurement,” said Williams.

The KSAMC has undertaken upgrades of the Papine, Red Rose and Jubilee markets, which are all nearing completion, and plans to embark on renovation of the Pearnel Charles Arcade, the Constant Spring Arcade, and Coronation Market soon.

Williams outlined that before the next phase of works commence, the KSAMC must review the operations of the market and the audit will greatly assist with that.

He argued that internal systems at the municipality must be assessed from time to time to ensure that best practices are implemented as it relates to the procurement of services, works and goods.

This is the second time in less than a month that an audit of the KSAMC has been requested by Hill.

Late last month Hill wrote to Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis, requesting her department's assistance after an internal audit uncovered irregularities at the entity.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Jamaica Observer, Hill noted that after reviewing the internal audit report for places of amusement licences covering the period January 2017 to December 2019, he was concerned about the findings.

“This report was prepared by the acting internal auditor and we have noted some major concerns that caused us to pause, as some may have negative implications in relation to the KSAMC's procurement practices,” Hill's letter read.

He said that the matter has been brought to the attention of the permanent secretary in the local government ministry.

“We stand ready to facilitate your guidance and expertise in relation to addressing the concerns that have been raised,” said Hill.

A source close to the activities at KSAMC told the Observer that at least two senior officers had been sent on leave since the review of the audit.

According to the source, the irregularities concern the purchase of amusement licence certificates.

It is alleged that close to 100,000 certificates were purchased over a two-year period by the KSAMC, amounting to $6.5 million, although it only issues approximately 4,000 certificates per year.

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