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Jan 5, 2018

The P.U.C. Audit – Autonomous Body Denies Allegations but P.M. Has Questions

Dean Barrow

The Public Utilities Commission today issued a paid statement opposing news reports this week on the ongoing audit of its finances. But Prime Minister Dean Barrow as Minister of Finance is aware of the allegations being made against the Commission and spoke of what he knew today. While he is yet to see a completed audit, he made note that some of the figures being quoted for payments outside of salaries sound outrageous. But he also noted that the Commission is autonomous – a decision made by a previous minister – and that too may be part of the problem.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“A couple of months ago, in the interest of full disclosure, an ex-employee of the P.U.C. provided me with copy of an interim report. I spoke to Mr. [John] Avery who said that he was in the process of answering or addressing all the issues that I saw raised in that report. My understanding from what he said on the news is that he has done so and that he too is awaiting the final version, which presumably will at least make reference to whatever explanations he gave in terms of what was raised that I saw in the preliminary report. I would certainly have to await sight of the final audit before I can determine a course of action. Remember that the P.U.C. is autonomous, if you look at the law, autonomous. The good Mr. Fonseca, not Francis; the other Mr. Fonseca when he was in charge, switched from the situation in which all P.U.C. revenues went into the consolidated revenue fund, had to be turned over to the Ministry of Finance, to a situation in which they collect all those fees for themselves. And while the law obliges them to submit a budget, if they control all that source of revenue, I can see how they might have become accustomed to thinking that they can spend those monies as they please, figuring, no doubt, that ‘as they please’ is formula for ‘in the interests of the P.U.C.’ that’s all I think I ought to say at this juncture; let me wait and see what happens.”

 

As regards salaries and other remuneration, P.M. Barrow notes that the P.U.C.’s budget goes first to the minister for public utilities before it goes to him.

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1 Response for “The P.U.C. Audit – Autonomous Body Denies Allegations but P.M. Has Questions”

  1. carlos says:

    Corruption again. Why government don’t keep track of the finances of these departments? All the revenues should end in the coffers of the government . They should be audited every year.

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