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Auditor General wants better oversight of GoJ loans

Published: Monday December 30, 2013 | 12:49 pm Comments 0
Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis. – File
Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis. – File

Jerome Reynolds, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:
Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis wants immediate measures to address how loans received by the Government are managed.

In her 2013 annual report, Monroe Ellis said the system used by the Accountant General’s Department to verify loan proceeds lodged to the Consolidated Fund is not working as intended.

The Accountant General's Department oversees the Jamaican treasury.

However, the Auditor General says the Accountant General could not show whether proceeds from 21 loans were lodged to the Consolidated Fund.

This includes 17 loans amounting to US$1.79 billion and two loans valued at €350 million.

The Auditor General notes that the Constitution requires that all revenue received by the Government must be lodged to the Consolidated Fund.

The Auditor General further says the Accountant General’s Department was not aware of loan disbursements made to the Government, totalling US12.24 million.

She noted that the Department only became aware after the lender submitted invoices.

And she said the Department did not present evidence to indicate whether about four million US dollars of the disbursement was deposited into the Consolidated Fund.

In the meantime, the Auditor General is urging the administration to address delays in submitting to the Accountant General’s Department, Government loan obligations concerning the Jamaica Debt Exchange and the National Debt Exchange.

She says failure to submitted updated records on a timely base will impair the department’s ability to prepare and present reliable statements on the public debt.

The Auditor General says the omission is a breach of the Financial Administration and Audit, and might also adversely affect the Government’s strategic decisions.

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