Warmington rejects statements tabled on Auditor General's Dept

Thursday, June 13, 2019

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DEPUTY Leader of the House of Representatives Everald Warmington has rejected the appropriations accounts of the Auditor General's Dept (AuGD) tabled on Tuesday in the House of Representatives by Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke.

Dr Clarke had tabled two annual appropriations accounts – for fiscal years 2016/17 and 2017/18 – in response to the constant demand of Warmington for the AuGD to be required, like all other government agencies and departments, to be audited and a report of the audit tabled in Parliament annually.

But Warmington said that what was tabled Tuesday was “deficient” and “unacceptable”. He said that while he appreciated that Dr Clarke has been the only minister of finance, in the past four, to respond to his request by actually tabling financial statements on the AuGD, it was not good enough.

“What is presented today, I must say, is somewhat deficient and, in a sense, unacceptable. What we have today is a Ministry Paper of certified appropriation accounts…I have been advocating for all these years that there must be certified audited accounts of every agency and department of government, so for us to (receive) appropriation accounts for 2016/17 and 2018/19 still falls short of what is required,” he insisted.

He said that the AuGD should not be treated any differently from other government departments and agencies which are financed by the budget.

He also suggested that there are at least 10 years of missing audits on the AuGD from the Ministry of Finance, as he has been sitting in Parliament for the last 17 years and has not seen even one such report.

Dr Clarke responded that Parliament should accept his tabling of the two appropriations accounts on the AuGD as a start in the right direction. But he said that in his efforts to deal with the issue, he had found that there was a legislative shortcoming in terms of how the AuGD should be audited.

He noted that what Warmington has been advocating for would require an external auditor to be appointed to audit the AuGD, instead of the Ministry of Finance.

“We need legislative change to give the Ministry of Finance the authority to appoint external auditors for the auditing of the AuGD. So what we have been moving toward is to require some sort of legislative change, amendments, to give the Ministry of Finance the authority, which does not exist today, to appoint an external auditor,” he said.

Dr Clarke also described as “untidy” the current audit relationship between his ministry and the AuGD, as the ministry audits the AuGD which, in turn, audits the ministry.

– Balford Henry

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