Oct 23, 2015 News
– Min. Patterson tells Parliament
By Abena Rockcliffe
Major discrepancies have been found in a few of the Auditor General’s reports on financial statements of the Transport and Harbours Department over the years 2003-2007.
It appears as if billions of dollars have been siphoned off from the revenue of this Department, which falls under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure previously known as the Ministry of Public Works.
The money went unaccounted for under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, while Anthony Xavier was Minister of Public Works.
Yesterday, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, despite being disrupted by Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, read excerpts from the reports.
He indicated that over the years, the Department’s income was grossly understated and the expenses were inflated.
Patterson was then interrupted by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland who told the Minister that he would not allow the reading of the excerpts, since the document he was reading from was not circulated, neither was it on the Order Paper.
Patterson had to momentarily take his seat, but the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, quickly clarified that it was indeed on the Order Paper and was likewise circulated.
Given the opportunity to speak again, Patterson indicated that the document he read from was available since 2012 but the PPP/C, “for obvious reasons,” refused to have it laid in the House.
In 2003, the amount of $597M was reported as income for the Transport and Harbours Department. However, a review by the Auditor General disclosed an income of $639M – a difference of $43M between the actual income and the stated amount.
In addition, daily revenue returns that were prepared and sent by the outstation were not presented for audit verification. As a result, details of revenue collected at outstations could not be verified.
Also, amounts totaling $156.4M were stated as expended for the administrative expenses. However, the general ledger reflected the amount of $154.5M, giving a difference of just over 1.9M.
As a result, the accuracy, completeness and validity of the amount expended could not have been ascertained.
Again in 2004, the operating income was stated as $332.1M. However, the AG’s report showed an income of $639M – a difference of $307M.
The trend continued in 2005. In that year, $362.8M represented the operating income earned but an analysis of the revenue reflected the amount $658.3M.
It was found that the revenue collected was understated by $295.5M.
The year 2006 was no different. In that year, $488M was declared revenue but an analysis reflected the amount $805.2M was understated by $317.2.
Then in 2007, $718M was declared as the revenue for that year but it was actually $830.4M understated by $112.3M.
“Because of the significance of the matters described in the preceding paragraphs, I do not express an opinion on the financial statements,” said the Auditor General in his report.
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