Money for Consolidated Fund 'detoured' to buy cars
Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis has been combing through the accounts of government ministries and agencies and has tabled her report to the nation's Parliament. Here is some of what she has uncovered.
The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC) has used funds set aside in its Calendar Deposit Account, which should have been sent to the Consolidated Fund at the end of the financial year, to purchase five motor vehicles.
"This was in breach of Section 24L of the FAA Act, which requires the accounting officer to surrender unspent funds at the end of the financial year to the Consolidated Fund," declared Monroe Ellis, in her annual report tabled, last week, in Parliament.
In March 2015 and March 2017, the MEGJC and its predecessor, the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, transferred $21 million and
$10 million, respectively, from the Recurrent Account to the ministry's Calendar Deposit Account.
This subsidiary deposit account was established for the printing of calendars.
MOTOR VEHICLE PURCHASES
The oversight body that monitors the use of public resources said that from the $21 million transferred, payments amounting to $15.8 million were made in June 2016 from the Calendar Deposit Account to purchase three motor vehicles. This is more than 14 months after the transfer in March 2015.
In addition, payments amounting to a little more than $10 million were made in June 2017 from the Calendar Deposit Account to purchase two motor vehicles.
Monroe Ellis said that the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service guidelines do not permit the accounting officer to transfer funds between financial patterns; that is from Recurrent Head to Deposit.
The auditor general insisted that the ministry should ensure that funds are spent in the financial year for which they are approved.
The country's guardian of public resources said that her department would have to express a qualified opinion regarding the ministry's Appropriation Accounts.
A qualified opinion suggests that the auditor has encountered situations that do not conform with generally accepted accounting principles.
The ministry has subsequently informed the auditor general that the policy of lodging funds to its Calendar Account has discontinued