Turtle farm missing six months of data


Six months of
computerised financial data from 2007 is missing from Boatswain’s Beach,
delaying the turtle farm’s ability to get its accounts audited for the past
three years, a Public Accounts Committee meeting heard Thursday.

The tourism
attraction’s financial accounts for 2006 have been submitted to the Auditor
General’s office, but officials from Boatswain’s Beach admitted there was a
problem with its accounts from 2007 onward because financial information on its
computer system was missing.

Told by
chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Ezzard Miller, that the committee
wanted to see the accounts audited by 3 September this year, Boatswain’s Beach
managing director Tim Adam said: “It is fair to say there may be some issues
with some loss of data…”

The committee
heard that the company was trying to recreate data in its computer system with
financial statements and supporting documentation and hard copies for the first
six months of that financial year.

Mr. Adam told
the committee that accounts had not been audited since 2006 when it was done by
a private auditing firm, which the acting Auditor General Garnet Harrison
confirmed was PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Harrison said he understood that the
firm had “resigned or said it would not do the audits anymore” after 2006.

The managing
director of the turtle farm said he planned to ask the Auditor General’s office
to carry out audits of the company rather than hire an external private firm to
do the work.

Mr. Harrison
responded that currently his office did not have the resources to take on the
task and would have to hire additional staff to handle it, adding that due to
the lack of data on the 2007 accounts, “substantiation of those accounts may be
very difficult to do. It is a complex audit.”

Mr. Adam told
the committee that the management accounts for 2007, 2008 and 2009 had been
submitted to the Auditor General’s office, “but we are unclear as to an earlier
date because we had a change in the CFO back in December, but we know they were
prepared back then. We have resubmitted them again, just this week. At least we
have management accounts that are prepared.”

Asked why an
audit was not done on the accounts since 2006, Kenneth Hydes, chairman of the
board of directors of Boatswain’s Beach, said the current board, when it was
appointed in September last year, tackled the 2006 report for auditing and then
turned its attention to 2007 onwards.

Speaking after
the meeting, Mr Hydes said that hard copies of the data to back up the financial
statements existed, but the computerised version, or soft copy, was missing. “Essentially,
it’s backup data… that’s missing from the IT system”.

Despite the
difficulties the turtle farm will face in the auditing of its financial reports,
Mr. Miller said he expected the board to meet a 3 September deadline imposed by
the Public Accounts Committee. He added that if Boatswain’s Beach could not supply
the information by then, the committee might accept “qualified accounts”.

Mr. Miller
recommended Boatswain’s Beach hire an individual to prepare the supporting documentation
and financial statements to ensure that the accounts could be audited in time
for the deadline.

“We have
recommended to other bodies who are behind, that if you can’t find the piece of
paper, if it washed away or if the former CFO wiped it off a computer when he
was leaving because he was leaving with a bad taste in his mouth, and I’m not
suggesting that’s your particular… case, then the Public Accounts Committee
would be happy to settle for qualified accounts, working towards perfection
this year.”

He added: “We
understand your plight, I can empathise but I’m not going to sympathise and
we’re sticking to our date.”


Photo: File