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Jul 31, 2009

Still no action in missing money allegations at CitCo

Story PictureAnd it was on July tenth that Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced during a press conference at the Radisson Fort George Hotel that the police would be making arrests for financial improprieties after Patrick Tillett, the government-appointed Financial Controller to City Hall, gave a statement to police. Well it’s the end of July and so far, the PM’s announcement and Tillett’s statement to police have amounted to zilch. We revisit the statements made by Barrow and Mayor Zenaida Moya Flowers’ denial of illegal activities involving the Council’s finances, saying it was simply an awkward accounting procedure referred to as under-depositing.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow (July 10, 2009)
“I’m deadly serious about the commitments I made to the Belizean public. In that context, I want to tell you that the Financial Controller or Regulator—I’m not sure what the term is—that we put in place at the Belize City Council. Remember we passed a law in December that gave the Minister of Local Government the power to send in a regulator if he was of the view that the affairs of the council so required. We also introduced some new accounting regulations with penalties for breaches of those regulations. That Financial Regulator, who is Mr. Patrick Tillett reported to my office and to the Ministry of Local Government, that during the course of his work, he has uncovered what he deemed to be some serious financial irregularities. We and the Ministry arranged for him to make a statement to the police. That has now been done and it is my sense that arrests are going to be made in consequence of the report formally given to the police by Mr. Tillett.”

Zenaida Moya Flowers, Belize City Mayor (July 10th, 2009)
“A meeting with representatives from the government audit department was held on Tuesday June sixteenth, 2009 at my office to discuss the findings of said 2003 to 2009 audit. In attendance we myself, the Director of Financial Services Mr. Dwane Davis, Internal Auditor Mr. Anthony Castillo and government auditors Ms. Carla Faber and Ms. Kimberly Ellis. At this meeting, no irregularities were stated. We were advised, however, about shortcomings with respect to financial procedures and internal controls to which recommendations were made to improve and strengthen both. Apart from the measures recommended by the auditors, the council decided to strengthen the finance department with someone considered to be versed with government accounting procedures, financial and store orders.”

And when we spoke with Tillett last week about his position on the review he has conducted of the Council’s books he was convinced that things did not add up. But equally as convinced that nothing illegal took place is the Council’s Director of Financial Services, Dwane Davis. In an update to news five, Davis said he is sure that police will have no charges to file because no crime was committed.

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