Auditor warns gov’t about travel expenses

| 17/06/2019 | 35 Comments

(CNS): Some government departments are still not justifying their travel expenses and the auditor general is warning public sector accountants that there should be business cases for entertainment, hospitality and travel costs because the area is vulnerable to “abuse and misuse”. In her latest report reviewing the state of government’s financial reporting, Sue Winspear said that she had found several public authorities were not drawing up formal business cases to justify and explain these expenditures.

She warned that without formal justification, government departments could be spending money on travel without knowing if it achieved an objective, there was a policy in place relating to a trip or event, and that the best value for money was obtained.

She pointed out that business cases should not only establish the need for travel but also look at alternatives, such as teleconferencing. But if the travel was justified, departments must demonstrate that the costs incurred represent the best value for the public purse.

While Winspear said in her report that a number of government entities were guilty of failing to properly manage travel and hospitality spending, she single out the new utilities regulator, OfReg, which has been a costly endeavour for government as the fees intended to fund this new office have not yet been implemented and the agency has run up a $1.4 million deficit in its first year.

The auditor found there was no travel policy in place and no business cases to justify almost a quarter of a million dollars spent on travel in one year. Winspear also questioned the purchase of a car by the office for its executive director without a policy or board approval.

In response to Winspear’s concerns, the management of OfReg said that the relevant policies would all be in place this year and that in future all travel by its team would be justified.

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Category: Government Administration, Politics

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Expenses? Does that include going to the US and using Gov credit cards and spending public money in casinos? Who would do such a thing?

  2. Anon says:

    One phrase fits all, politicians, civil servants, govt agency employees etc – “Hogs in the Trough”.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    politicians??? and friends??

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Their all in on it together the auditor general,opposition the Governor, alden and mackeeva along with all their pupets.
    If not something would have been done about it long ago.
    We should have a people’s initiated referendum to remove them from office national importants.

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    • Say it like it is says:

      6.26am You must be afflicted with early onset dementia.. How on earth can you accuse the AG of corruption – without this lady we would never know about all the incompetence and corruption that occurs throughout Government and all it’s agencies.Sue Winspear is a rarity in our Government, incorruptible and calling out those who are corrupt.

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      • Anonymous says:

        This auditor needs to go as how dare you tell our government to be accountable. The nerve of some people.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Please publish expenses for the Monaco trip, and justify the expense

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    • Anonymous says:

      And who went to Monaco.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And CNCF cocktail party expenses.

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    • Anon. says:

      I will be stunned but pleased if Government EVER hold their employees accountable for anything, not just travel expenses.

      Departments always sending people overseas for conferences and seminars and we still don’t know what was learned at these conferences and seminars, did it improve the civil service or was it a getaway for some civil servants?

      Keep calling them out Miss AG.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well if you don’t have to account for why goverment equipment was shipped to Cayman Brac and used to tarmac private driveways during the run up to election, and never return the equipment to the mainland, then you don’t have to justify anything in Cayman. Politicians, with a bible in one hand and their heads in the trough can do what they like.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    4 words… Standards in Public Life?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Start investigating those authorities who spend a lot but have to be subsidized by government because they can’t even make a profit! Including the premier’s buddies.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Alden is not only a waste of time but he is also wasting our money and resources.
    I hope people are not going to vote this lot back in power.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I bet none are too eager to travel on the 737 max sitting at the airport.How long do we wait before we send those flying coffins back?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    “A recently [2014] completed audit of nearly $8.6 million in Cayman Islands government travel and hospitality expenses over three years has been presented to the Anti-Corruption Commission for further review.”

    I’ll repeat: “..has been presented to the Anti-Corruption Commission for further review” [2014] STILL REVIEWING???

    * Qatar trip: WILL ANYONE EVER HELD ACCOUNTABLE?

    – $42,000 spent to send five representatives to an international postal conference in Doha, Qatar. government did not report the full cost of that trip, which was $45,742. The government left out an amount it had spent on sending the chief officer of the ministry to London in the days before the Qatar conference.

    -The trip revealed vastly different expenses for the former minister, Ms. O’Connor-Connolly, and her “executive aide” to travel to the conference and for the two civil servants who traveled there.

    Air fare for the minister and her executive aide cost $6,003 per ticket; the postmaster general and deputy postmaster spent $1,170 and $1,261 on their respective flights. The minister and her aide also stopped in New York City for five nights prior to attending in Doha for eight nights.

    The minister’s credit card charges on the trip included expenses of $885, while the ministry’s chief officer charged $669 to their credit card and the postmaster general had card charges of $170. No explanation was given for the variations in the charges.

    Further, per diem expenses for the minister on trips to places like Qatar, Jamaica and Grenada were posted at $250 per day. In some cases, staff traveling on the same trips were paid per diem rates of $40 or $50 per day.

    *Brac hotel charges.

    Other questionable expenses flagged by auditors included hotel room charges in Cayman Brac of nearly $34,000 over three years for the executive aide to former District Administration Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.

    No reason was provided to auditors as to why those amounts were paid or why the aide was needed on the Brac for such long periods; auditors said there were no records on file indicating an explanation.

    Basically, nothing has changed since 2014, despite “Deputy Governor Franz Manderson instituted a new policy requiring the reporting off all travel by civil servants and has voluntarily made his own travel expenses public.” [2014]

    GASBOY CARD FOR ALL continues.
    Anti-Corruption Commission review of the above findings have conveniently felt through the cracks. If Anti-Corruption Commission is not accountable, then who is and will be?

    https://www.caymancompass.com/2014/06/10/anti-corruption-review-for-travel-costs/

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  11. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

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  12. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the worst abusers are the public authorities and government companies, rather than the core civil service which seems to have had its wings clipped travel-wise in the last year or so. OFREG, which has been a disgrace “from morning” with its huge salaries for the Board Chief, Board members and members of staff and its very fancy gas guzzling unnecessary vehicles, needs to be firmly brought under control NOW. We can safely ignore their assurances that all will be well later this year – it wont. The place is a poison pit with senior staff all jealous of and hating each other and waiting for the right moment to do some back stabbing. And there is to be a new CEO, it appears. A foreigner stepping into the lions den.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It doesn’t appear that any part of the government has cut back on joy trips. Sue Winspear for Premier!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Can someone please tell me what the Ofreg does beside costing the Government ( tax payers) millions
      Fuel cost is still sky high and everything are going up by the day, so what are they doing besides riding around in their expensive Govt. bought vehicles burning up Govt. Gasoline.

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      • Perry Foster says:

        “What are they doing?” Answer : Living high on the hog with the people’s money! Kind of like stealing, isn’t it!

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  13. ppm Distress Signal says:

    Alden and PPM have become the new McKeeva’s UDP people that think they are different do not understand cayman political parties is the same dog puppy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hate to say it but I told ya so!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. They are all one. I think this government knows the younger generation will vote them out so they are going to travel and get every perk they can at the expensive of the public . Total abuse of funds. Thanks for shining a light on it but more of the same……

    • Anonymous says:

      They have certainly adopted the vindictive backlash policy of silencing anyone who disagrees with them.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Step aside all you Kirkbits and bots and all you CPR’ers, we have a new punching bag in town.

    Travel and entertainment!

    Let it rip…..

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  15. Anonymous says:

    11:56am

    Thought that you wouldn’t ask.

    Send through you name and will ensure that you get an invite this time, courtesy of 🎯 Corporation!

  16. Anonymous says:

    The gravy train rumbles on!

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like the perfect time to plan two more Monaco and Hong Kong jollies, eh chaps!?

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