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The case of the missing value book

Published:Wednesday | October 27, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Robert Rainford, yesterday faced the firing line as Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sought to unravel the mystery of a missing value book containing critical information in relation to items such as cheques or cash.

The book, sent by mail to the Half-Way Tree Resident Magis-trate's Court, has been missing for more than a year.

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis indicated that personnel from her department could not conduct an audit of the value book as it could not be found.

Bombarded by questions from PAC members, Rainford expressed confidence that the document would be recovered.

However, it required a little more than faith to convince the committee members that the book would be located.

"A suspicious person may argue that that book which is missing had recording of some valuable values," said committee Chairman Dr Omar Davies.

"It has taken a year and you still have the expectation that you will find that book?" Davies asked.

"I still do, Chairman," Rainford replied.

"You don't find many believers in the committee," Davies quipped.

Rainford told the PAC that the court administrator was responsible for the safekeeping of the book.

"She gave us the impression that it was misplaced and, therefore, we asked her to really try and find it."

Search widens

As deliberations on the missing value book took various twists and turns, Rainford divulged that he had summoned his audit team to join in the search for the document.

But an agitated Ronnie Thwaites, committee member, declared: "This is a waste of our time."

He added: "We are not going to find that book. What happened to the value that came in there? We shouldn't have to deal with this. There should be a system that if you are responsible for the book you have to find it, and if you don't find it, two months, three months, it's dealt with or you are dealt with."

The committee was informed that, to date, no action has been taken against any member of staff.