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Jun 18, 2019

A Look at 2014/2015 Audit Report

In January of this year, Auditor General Dorothy Ann Bradley submitted to the Prime Minister’s office her financial reports on the accounts of Belize for the year 2014/2015. In the report, Bradley speaks of several glaring financial discrepancies believed to have been caused by the inadequate performance by finance officers, accounting clerks, and government departments and ministries on a whole. According to the Auditor General, financial statements presented for audit are extremely late and in some instances are not reliable. Bradley asserts that finance and accounting officers are duty bound to adhere to policies and regulations, failure to do so must come with penalties. Bradley says that finance and accounting officers should be held accountable for poor performance, deficiencies, and dereliction of duty. In fact, in the executive summary, Bradley tells the Prime Minister that there is an urgent need for financial reform. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

According to Auditor General Dorothy Ann Bradley, areas such as banking, finance, accounting, and management require strengthening. Bradley says that financial statements presented were not accurate. In fact, statements provided did not show the government’s full financial position as of March thirty-first, 2015.

One clear example is pointed out on page ten in note seven-sixty which speaks of more than sixteen million dollars at the Treasury and Sub-treasuries. However, the pay in process at the sub-treasuries does not make possible the holding of a large amount of cash and cheques. The figure is incorrect because the accounts were not reconciled. Note seven-fifty also speaks of financial discrepancies found within the balances of several commercial banks when compared to Smart Stream balances. The reconciliation was not up to date.

Then there is the Police Welfare Fund and the Police Trust Fund. While these funds legally exist, no proof of bank accounts was found. Instead, the auditor general was presented with documents corresponding to a Police Reward Fund. The monies collected from police officers were deposited in the Police Reward Fund which the audit team found no regulations for. On the ledger, the fund shows a balance of more than three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, but on the Smart stream system, the balance is a little less than two hundred and thirty thousand dollars. Again, reconciliation was not done.

Then there is the issue of lack of documentation. Financial Order sixty-nine dictates that accounting officers are to provide the Accountant General and Auditor General, returns of areas of revenue at the end of June and December every year.  According to Bradley, no arrears of revenue statement for the period were presented. The audit team was deployed to collect the information. Bradley says that the arrears of revenue were poorly managed. She says that the government was not in the position to realize its outstanding arrears due to accounting officers’ negligence.

The lack of proper accounting and failure to adhere to important regulations has been a recurring challenge that the audit team is facing. The Auditor General is hopeful that discussing the issues once more will prompt relevant authorities to take necessary actions to effect changes. Hipolito Novelo, News Five.


We’ll have more of the report in Wednesday’s newscast.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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