Mon | Mar 1, 2021

PAC chairman calls in Labour Ministry amid Auditor General's report

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2021 | 11:16 AM
Opposition spokesperson on Finance and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Julian Robinson (file photo)

Opposition spokesperson on Finance and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Julian Robinson, has summoned the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) to appear before the next sitting of the Committee for its "failure to respond to concerns raised in the annual report of the Auditor General’s Department."

READ: BILLIONS AT RISK - Inefficient controls at ministries, agencies exposing public funds to fraud or abuse

Robinson said the failure of any government agency to properly account for public funds is of serious concern and every effort must be made to ensure full accountability.

He said the Labour Ministry appears to be operating on its own, disregarding not only its own internal audit, but also the reviews of the Auditor General. He added that the Ministry was operating without any regard for good governance.

“The issues with the Labour Ministry have a long history and must not be allowed to continue. If, it is a matter of improper accounting, systems must be put in place to address this, but if there is corruption, it must be exposed and those responsible must be brought to book,” Robinson said in a statement.

Robinson noted that up to the time of the Auditor General’s reporting, the Ministry had failed to respond to approximately sixty issues concerning systemic weaknesses identified in the their operations from as far back as 2017.

"Repetitive findings from the MLSS review and the non-responsiveness in addressing the internal control deficiencies, suggest management’s lack of commitment in establishing and maintaining effective internal control to help safeguard assets and further achieve its objectives," the statement read.

According to Robinson, the Labour Ministry's lack of responsiveness shows a longstanding pattern. He noted that it was also reported in the Auditor General’s Department Activity-Based Audit – National Insurance Scheme 2016 Audit Report. It was reported then that MLSS had not responded to 27 issues raised by the Internal Auditor from as far back as December 2011.

“These are serious times, and systemic laxity allows for waste, pilferage and corruption. Jamaica has seen enough of all of these ills across several state agencies and taxpayers need to be assured that their hard-earned money is not lining the pockets of corrupt officials who believe they are above the law,” the PAC chairman said in his statement.

The MLSS will attend the next sitting of the PAC.

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