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Jun 19, 2019

PAC Chairman Says Government has No Interest in Audit Report

Julius Espat

The 2014/2015 Audit Report highlights a number of inconsistencies where it concerns proper accounting of public funds.  Those discrepancies were flagged by Auditor-General Dorothy Ann Bradley who tendered the report back in January to the Office of the Prime Minister.  In that document are several references to the importance of the Public Accounts Committee, as well as its role in ensuring transparency.  According to the chairman of the special taskforce, the findings, much like the professional opinion provided by the auditor-general, reflect a lack of access to adequate information necessary for Bradley to do her job properly.  This afternoon, Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat weighed in on the thirty-one page document, as well as the recommendations that have been put forward.

 

Julius Espat, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

“The opinion is exactly the same opinion as she has had from the one we are reviewing which is the 2012/2013.  She has presented the 2013/2014 to the House already and now this is 2014/2015.  The opinion is the same, basically stating that she does not have access to information or enough information to give an opinion and if you speak to any auditor, either an auditor that works for government or audits government or an auditor in the private sector.  An opinion like that is the worst that you can ever get.  It means that there is nothing in there that she can verify and we have had this over and over again, meaning government.  It’s sad; government has no interest to be able to come up with the information for the auditor general.  They don’t reconcile their accounts.  They don’t provide the information, people blame each other.  The Ministry of Finance blames the ministries.  But at the end of the day, the auditor general is quite clear, we are being governed at this time without having knowledge of how we are spending the money, if it is being spent efficiently or not, how much money we are losing on a daily basis and there is no provision in place to be able to try to rectify because government has no interest. The auditor general is trying her best to show the Government of Belize and the people of Belize that we have serious flaws in the system and it boils down to not having systems in place to properly administer, monitor and correct the problems.  The problems are there, they are obvious.  She notes them, she repeats them every year and they are being totally disregarded.  So I see the auditor general and her team as extremely frustrated because they are doing the best they can but it means nothing.”


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