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ECJ defends stewardship after damning AG report

Published: Friday December 7, 2012 | 5:49 pm Comments 0
ECJ chairman, Professor Errol Miller
ECJ chairman, Professor Errol Miller

Charlene Stuart, Senior Staff Reporter

The Electoral Commission (ECJ) has defended its stewardship following troubling discrepancies found by the Auditor Generalís Department, during its review of the ECJís Information Systems.

The auditor general has found that the ECJ has never produced an audited financial statement.

It also said the ECJ ignored directives from the finance ministry to pay its deputy director of elections at a stipulated level.

At a press conference today, the ECJ chairman, Professor Errol Miller said from 2007 to 2010, the commissionís financial affairs were subjected to compliance reviews by the Auditor Generalís Department.

But Professor Miller says the ECJ is guilty of not completing and commissioning financial audits by any private auditing firm approved by the auditor general.

He says the ECJ will now do so and the audits will cover last year and this year.

But Professor Miller defended the salary paid to ECJ deputy director, describing the case as different, but admitting there was communication with Finance Ministry over the issue.

According to Professor Miller, in the end the deputy directorís salary was decided using the logic that since the pay for the post of Director of Elections was bench-marked to that of the Director General of the Office of Utilities Regulation, then the salary of the Deputy Director of Elections should be bench-marked to the post of Deputy Director-General of the regulations agency.

Nevertheless, the ECJ chairman has promised to seek to regularize the matter.

Meanwhile, in countering claims by the Auditor General that the ECJ didnít take death data from the Registrar Generalís Department (RGD) into account, Professor Miller says the data from the Registrar cannot be used to automatically identify electors who have died.

The Auditor General had said that the procedure to process dead electors didnít take into account any death data from the RGD as required by the Representation of the People Act.

According to Professor Miller, the law requires that the Returning Officer goes into the field and confirm the death of the elector before the personís name can be removed from the list.

He said had the ECJ adopted the position of the auditor general's report, at least one former Governor General, one former Prime Ministers among others would have been disenfranchised.

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