The Auditor General’s audit of the Port Authority reported in the headlines of Cayman Net News last Friday was planned more than one year ago, it has been learned.
Although Auditor General Dan Duguay is off the island on holiday until 1 August, Audit Manager Garnet Harrison confirmed that the audit was included as one of the outputs in Annual Budget Statement for the Auditor General in the 2004/05 Budget.
The Budget was tabled in the Legislative Assembly in May, 2004, while the previous government was in power.
The measure item was listed under the heading ‘Financial – Regulatory -Operational Audits’ along with five other outputs.
Four value-for-money audits were also listed in the budget, along with one investigation into Cayman Brac Power and Light.
Mr. Harrison said the Port Authority audit was routine in nature.
‘To me, they’re all value-for-money audits,’ he said. ‘(The different kinds of audits) tend to get to the same thing.’
Audits under the heading ‘Financial – Regulatory – Operational’ also look at financial controls, procedures and regulations in place for the subject being audited, Mr. Harrison said.
The audit had been started last year, Mr. Harrison said, but was interrupted by Hurricane Ivan and various other priorities at the Auditor General’s office.
Mr. Harrison deferred most other questions about the Port Authority audit to Mr. Duguay upon his return, including questions concerning when the audit would be completed and the procedure that would be used to make the report public.
Leader of the Opposition and former chairman of the Port Authority McKeeva Bush said he was aware of the audit from last year and even supports its taking place.
‘I want to make everything (about the Port Authority dealings) known,’ he said.
Mr. Bush confirmed that he spoke with the Auditor General’s office about the audit this past February.
To his knowledge, the audit is routine, he said.
‘They’re not talking about any investigation,’ he said. ‘They’re looking into the control procedures and value for money. They’re not doing anything more than that.’
At the weekly Cabinet briefing last Friday, Minister Charles Clifford said he had written to the Governor about certain alleged irregularities that occurred at the Port Authority during the previous political administration, and that the matter was now with the Auditor General’s office.
However, Acting Auditor General Ravi Persad said the Governor had definitely not initiated the audit into the Port Authority, which he also termed a routine value for money audit.
Mr. Persad also said the audit under way did not deal with an agreement between the Port Authority and the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman developers for the construction of a marina on Port Authority land, as suggested by Cayman Net News.
In the budget, the audit is described as: Port Authority – Tendering and Construction of GT & WB Cruise Ship Terminals.