Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts has told Chief Financial Officers from government ministries and portfolio’s to direct every available resource towards finalising and submitting late government financial records to the auditor general for auditing.
Mr. Tibbetts told a Cabinet press briefing Thursday that government financial record keeping had been behind schedule when the PPM came to government in 2005, but he conceded the situation had dragged on longer than it should have.
‘The country needs to know what state the government’s finances are in and only audited reports will give the true picture,’ he said.
Mr. Tibbetts remarks come after Auditor General Dan Duguay said some government ministries and portfolios were years behind in submitting financial statements for auditing, and that this was denying the public accountability and transparency in government spending (Caymanian Compass 10 October).
Under the Public Management and Finance Law, government ministries and portfolios are required to submit financial statements to the Auditor General within two months of the end of the financial year.
Mr. Duguay told the Caymanian Compass earlier this month he had received financial statement from most government agencies for the 2004-05 financial year, but few for the 2005-06 financial year, and none for the 2006-07 financial year, which were due 1 September.
Mr. Tibbetts has held recent meetings ith all of the CFO’s, Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson and Chief Secretary George McCarthy on the topic. The issue was also broached with Governor Stuart Jack and the Cabinet in last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, he said.
‘[The CFO’s] have set specific deadlines for bringing these accounts up-to-date, and we will be monitoring to make sure it does happen,’ he said.
‘If truth be known, it certainly is nothing intentional, and you will appreciate that the political arm of government is not really in control of that process.
‘But, needless to say, at the end of every fiscal year, within reasonable time, we do need these reports and we need the audited accounts for the government, for every reason that one would wish to know.’
Mr. Tibbetts believes some government ministries are portfolios have been making progress on getting their books up to date recently.
‘What will probably happen is you will see two or three years being completed at the same time and thereafter being kept up to date.’