Gov't to table first audit report on auditor general in years

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

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There is at least one position on which the auditor general and deputy leader of the House of Representatives agree — that Jamaica can be “a better country through effective audit scrutiny”.

That is the vision statement of the Auditor General's Department (AGD) and it is always printed in bold across the cover of each report of the department's usually severe audits of government ministries, departments and agencies tabled in Parliament. However, for years, Everald Warmington, the deputy leader of the House, has untiringly accused Parliament of refusing to require an audit of the department and table it in the chamber.

Yesterday, Parliament confirmed that Finance Minister and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke will today be tabling the first audit report on the AGD in approximately 10 years.

On several occasions, Warmington had raised the issue that an audit should be done of all Government-financed agencies, including the AGD.

“No Government agency should be allowed to benefit from the public purse without providing its audited financials,” he has been warning the House for the last few years.

In 2017 he argued that if the Ministry of Finance was unwilling to do the task, it should be outsourced. Even an assurance from then Minister Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw that it would be done that year by his ministry was not enough to convince Warmington.

He said that he had been making the request for more than four years without results.

“Every other department and agency is audited by this department, and this department is always critical of other ministries and agencies… and nobody is looking into the operations of this department. It's a damn shame,” he told the House in March this year.

Dr Clarke immediately assured him, again, that he would see that the department is audited and the report tabled this year.

But, even with today's tabling of the report, Warmington said he would not be satisfied until all the missed reports, which he said could stretch back for as many as 10 years, are tabled.

“What are they going to do? It can't start at the middle or at the end, so they may have to go back 10 years. I have reasons why I want them to be tabled. There are questions that need to be answered, and these reports are not going to be laid and nothing more heard about them,” he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday, suggesting that the reports should be sent to a House committee for a full review.


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