Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Audit uncovers mystery NSWMA gas card spending - State entity's reports now up to date, says Chung

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Dennis Chung (left), chairman of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), addresses a press briefing at the Courtleigh in New Kingston on Tuesday. Looking on are Camille Facey (centre), chairperson of NSWMA corporate governance committee, and executive director Audley Gordon.

For the first time since 2004, the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has reported that it has up-to-date, audited financial statements across all entities in the group.

Chairman of the Board of Directors Dennis Chung made the disclosure at a press conference earlier this week to provide an annual update on the operations of the NSWMA and its four regional entities.

"It has enabled us to better manage the organisation because at least now, we have financial statements that we can rely on and use as a base for moving forward. So we have made significant progress when it comes to our governance because you really cannot govern an organisation without proper financial records," asserted Chung.

Meanwhile, chairman of the audit subcommittee of the board, Norman Brown, told journalists that several audits were conducted during his two-year tenure, which brought to light issues such as the lack of standardisation; poor supervisory control; poor record keeping, filing, and storage of documents; inadequate safeguards of assets; lack of documented control procedures and policies; and non-compliance with procedural guidelines.

 

$42.5M PER YEAR

 

Brown further stated that internal audits had revealed gross mismanagement of the authority's fuel cards across all entities of the NSWMA.

"The audit brought to light several instances where vehicles that were in the shop under repair or partially scrapped and not in service were being fuelled every day, based on the records of the cards. When the audit was completed, we brought it to the attention of the executive director and his team. He put certain remedial measures in place, and so far, this has resulted in considerable savings for the entity. Year on year, we have saved 214,600 litres of fuel even though we have added vehicles to the fleet," Brown disclosed.

In terms of a dollar figure, Brown said that the fuel savings equated to $42.5 million per year.

"Because of this, we have instituted, as an audit committee, a monitoring mechanism where at our bi-monthly audit meeting, we review the consumption patterns of all the regional entities, and if there is a wide variance, we would make enquiries of the operation manager and ask for justification as to why there's an increase or decrease in the fuel consumption," Brown added.

In terms of record keeping, Brown stated that a temporary storage facility had been procured and the documents were being put in proper order so that once enquires are made, they are easily retrievable and can also be used to justify expenditure by the entity.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com