Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
WILLIAM 'Billy' Heaven, the CEO of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund (CHASE), has expressed surprise that issues, which he said were cleared up with Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis, have found their way into her most recent report to Parliament.
Among the issues raised by Monroe Ellis in the report, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, is that an individual for whom CHASE paid $932,000 to attend an institution "abandoned the programme of training".
The auditor general also found that for the period 2007-2008 to 2011-2012, a total of 87 awardees received scholarship assistance amounting to $127.6 million for which no bonding agreements were executed.
She said CHASE made arrangements with the Ministry of Finance to execute bonds.
Yesterday, Heaven told The Gleaner that the bonding matter was no longer an issue.
"I don't know why it was in the report because the auditor general came back here and satisfied themselves that the policy was fully implemented," Heaven said.
He added: "You can't come and tell us that you are satisfied and that you have satisfied yourself and then the issues appear in reports."
No abandonment took place
In the case of the person who the auditor general said "abandoned" the programme, Heaven contended that no abandonment took place.
"The person got seriously ill and could not continue. No one knows that if the person should recover, the person will not continue in the programme," he argued.
He told The Gleaner that the individual was enrolled in an overseas programmes under the arts and culture subsector.
CHASE is funded by the proceeds of lottery winnings. Among the activities undertaken by the entity is the granting of scholarships for studies in health, early-childhood education and arts and culture.
The audit of the fund revealed weaknesses in the internal controls governing the management of revenue, project management, bonding arrangements and fixed assets.
The report stated that refunds of withholding tax from Tax Administration Jamaica totalling $207.6 million have been outstanding since April 2004.
Heaven, however, said the matter of withholding tax was not within his control. He said all his entity can do is make representation in the hope that the Tax Administration will make the refunds.