Aug 06, 2020 News Comments Off on Forensic audits to be done on all COVID spending – Attorney General
Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, has raised concerns about Government expenditures during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining that forensic audits will have to be done to bring the financial accounts of the country “up to standard”.
Following the swearing in of 19 government ministers yesterday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, the AG fielded questions from the press.
“We have to do a lot of work in a very short period of time, and in a very difficult circumstance.”
He stated that the country’s finances are, legally speaking, in a state of chaos. Since there was no budget, there has been no authorized spending, Nandlall said.
“…yet monies are being hauled out of the Consolidated Fund. The law says you can only do that with Parliamentary approval.”
Parliament was dissolved in December 2019 to facilitate elections. However, in March, former President David Granger had issued an order under the Public Health Ordinance to expend public funds as the government saw it necessary for the effective consolidation of COVID-19.
Yet, scrutiny of the government’s spending has faced several hurdles.
The Ocean View COVID-19 hospital, for instance, has received significant attention for the hundreds of millions to build it ($1.6B).
Despite the concerns raised, the former government had made no attempt to come clean.
“There are serious violations of the financial laws that have taken place over the past several months,” Nandlall told this newspaper. “So it’s a lot of work that has to be done; a lot of forensic audits have to be done, but we are going to get there.”
He opined that the Auditor General, who has already started audits on the spending in this period, will have tremendous difficulties because “none of the laws were being complied with.”
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