Hearings in audit backlog cleared

The committee tasked with examining reports from the Auditor General has completed hearing testimony from witnesses in a backlog of 10 outstanding reports, some dating back as far as 2003.

Public Accounts Committee chairman Ezzard Miller said he was pleased that the committee members had managed to work their way through the reports and had heard evidence from witnesses on several of them.

‘We’ve now heard from all the witnesses. We need to finalise our reports and get them organised and then table them to the Legislative Assembly,’ said Mr. Miller.

He said he expected to table two reports at a time to the House.

Among the reports that the committee has worked through during seven public meetings since June have been the Matrix International scrap metal contract, the purchase of the police helicopter, an audit of Caribbean Utilities Company’s previous monopoly licence, petrol charges for St. Pedro’s Castle, debt financing arrangements at Boatswain’s Beach and the government’s property insurance settlement following Hurricane Ivan.

The members of the Public Accounts Committee are chairman and independent MLA Mr. Miller, the United Democrat Party’s Cline Glidden, Ellio Solomon and Dwayne Seymour, and the lone People’s Progressive Movement member Moses Kirkconnell.

Prior to the UDP taking power in May, the last meeting held by the previous Public Accounts Committee was in June last year when it heard testimony on the Auditor General’s report on the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal project. No report has been tabled to the Legislative Assembly on that issue.

Deputy Auditor General Garnet Harrison said his office was looking forward to the Public Accounts Committee’s reports on the audits being tabled at the Legislative Assembly. ‘That’s the final accountability part of the process,’ he said.