MLAs to review damning expense audit

| 13/01/2015 | 3 Comments

(CNS): One of the auditor general’s most damning reports on the mismanagement of public spending by government officials on both the political and administrative sides of government will be scrutinized Wednesday when the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meets in the Legislative Assembly. At the hearing committee members review the report which revealed that government had spent, but could barely account for, $8.6 million of public cash on travel and hospitality over the three year period, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) report, Management of Travel and Hospitality Expenditures, caused considerable controversy when it revealed lavish spending on hotels and parties by government, particularly by the ministries of Finance, Tourism and Development (FTD) and District Administration, Works, Land and Agriculture (DAWLA). These two ministries alone represented 70% of all travel and hospitality expenditure by government over the period reviewed.

The meeting, which starts at 9am on Wednesday 14 January, is likely to see sparks fly because, despite the request by PAC Chair Roy McTaggart for Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush to resign from the committee, Bush, who was minister of finance, tourism and development during the period the report covers, remains as PAC deputy chair.

The report has put politicians in the firing line over the spending, in particular the amount of money spent by Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, the former DAWLA minister, on hotels in her constituency of Cayman Brac for herself and her executive aide. However, the auditors from the OAG said they were unable to distinguish between travel expenditures by elected officials and those of government officials because of poor record keeping.

When it was revealed to the public in June last year (see video below), Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick said that over half of the expenditures that auditors looked at were unsupported, and items like airline tickets and hotel receipts were missing. In some cases, he said, there was absolutely nothing to support the expenses at all. As well as missing paperwork, Swarbrick expressed serious concern about how government was spending money on entertainment and travel.

He said tens of thousands of dollars given to staff as travel advance expenses were written off because finance officers had nothing to confirm whether government officials had even gone on the trips they claimed expenses for. He also found that politicians were approving their own travel spending without showing the receipts.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , ,

Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. panama_jack says:

    I was driving past the government gasoline station yesterday and could not but wonder if that situation has improved since the “gas-gate” report of massive abuse of that facility. Have the gas theft problems been rectified or is it the same thing different day?

  2. EllaJ says:

    This Auditor General report is so damning of Mr Bush’s reign you would wonder how he can sleep at night being the God fearing man he is. It also speaks volumes too for the lack of accountability, systemic problems of integrity and of course public service. I urge people on here to show this video, and keep showing this video to all your families. There has got to be a sea change in how public servants conduct themselves. Let me say that this is not ALL civil servants. The problem lay at the very top and still does especially when you have people who are afraid to hold ministers accountable. As we now know even under this government ministers are allowed to threaten their Chief Officers with “making their life a hell” for daring to question expenses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.