PAC to examine latest reports
(CNS): The chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has confirmed that members will be meeting this week to examine the latest of the auditor general’s damning reports. Moses Kirkconnell has called a meeting of the specialist legislative committee for Wednesday when it will be looking at the reports on the unlawful spending on paving private parking lots in Cayman Brac, the wasted money at CINICO and the failure of government departments to address the potential risk to the public purse with the government’s fuel card system. This will be the first meeting of the committee since last year.
The committee will be examining three reports published by the Office of the Auditor General that show the continued mismanagement of the public funds by various government departments. In the report regarding the Brac paving published by Alastair Swarbrick’s office last month he revealed that more than half a million dollars was spent on paving 56 private lots without legislative authority.
Although the Legislative Assembly had approved spending on paving public roads on the Sister Islands, from the $3 million spent on that project, $521,090 was unlawfully spent on commercial, profit making businesses from the people’s money.
The deputy premier, whose ministry was responsible for making the decision to pave commercial lots as part of the project without authority, has not yet commented on Swarbrick’s findings and has stated that she would be taking legal advice before speaking out.
According to the auditor general’s report on CINICO, the government’s health insurance company, some $30 million of public money was at risk every year because of shocking failures in the management CINICO and a plethora of weaknesses. From managers appointing case management firms without the company or board’s knowledge to a paucity of documents to show how CINICO manages overseas cases, the report reveals a catalogue of poor governance, leaving public money and the government owned company open to abuse.
In his most recent report, Swarbrick and the audit team examined how much government had learned from the internal audit unit’s findings in 2010 about the poor management and risks associated with the government’s fuel car d system. Unfortunately, the return to 'Gasboygate' found government had learned very little and public cash remained at risk.
Swarbrick said that some of the original five agencies audited the first time the office examined the fuel card system had made some improvements but the next ten top government department users of fuel had done nothing to mitigate the risk of abuse with the system.
Despite the fact that four of the first five agencies audited were part of the same ministry the message delivered to public works, the Water Authority and the National Roads Authority failed to reach other departments in the Ministry for District Administration, placing Deputy Premier Juliana O'Connor-Connolly again at the centre of the mismanagement of public funds.
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