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Nov 1, 2017

Did Court Miss Point of Audit Objections?

Dean Barrow

As we’ve reported, government’s attorneys made it a point before the CCJ that they would not accept the results of independent audits done on behalf of Dunkeld and the Employees Trust.  The CCJ, in turn, flatly rejected government’s position to verify and agree to the liabilities only after being allowed to peruse relevant documents pertaining to the audit.  But how different would the outcome have been had government agreed with the claimants in having two autonomous accounting firms conduct the audit?  Here’s how the P.M. responded.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Well if government had agreed there would have been no need to go to the CCJ.  We would have simply accepted the quantum that they put forward.  We were not convinced that the amount was in fact justifiable and we still are not convinced.  Look, the CCJ, when you read the judgment, made the point that the Ashcroft alliance could never have expected that they would simply present us at the last minute with these so-called audited liability claims and that we would have swallowed those whole.  The court said that and that is why I have a huge problem with the judgment.  The court says that and the court suggested what might have happened instead of what the alliance did, what other course they might have pursued.  But then the court turns around and says, nevertheless, while we did not see how government would simply have accepted the figures on the basis of the audit by Horwath and whoever the other firm is, they, the court would not bother to go into any analysis of the figures, they would accept it.  So we were not, they could understand why we wouldn’t; but without more they said they would accept it because they don’t know that these people are other than professional.  With the greatest possible respect, I think the court completely missed it.  It wasn’t just a matter of whether the liabilities put forward represented expenses that were actually incurred.  It was a matter of whether, even if these were expenses that were actually incurred, they were incurred so as to qualify them for reimbursement of our extraction in the context of what the settlement agreement provided for.”

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