JDF owes $630 million to suppliers
Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
The auditor general’s department says up to June 30 last year, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) owed its suppliers over $600 million.
In a report tabled in the Parliament, Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis, said it also appeared that the JDF was spending more than the funds available to it.
The auditor general said of the $634 million owed, $507 million was outstanding for more than 90 days.
She said this is in breach of the Financial Management Regulations 2011, which requires accounting officers to settle payments by their departments for all goods and services received within a period of thirty days.
The auditor general also said prolonged delays in clearing the outstanding bills may increase the risk of suppliers refusing to conduct further business with the JDF.
However, the JDF has reportedly said it incurs additional expenses because of urgent operational requirements which do not make allowances for waiting on funds.
Meanwhile, the auditor general says her probe has uncovered evidence indicating that the JDF did not have a written contract for the supply of ballistic helmets from an overseas supplier at a cost of approximately $10.5 million.
She says the JDF made three payments amounting to approximately $3.5 million using quotations instead of original invoices contrary to the Financial Administration and Audit Act.
The report also revealed that the JDF did not adequately secure its interests when it paid a deposit of approximately $6 million to a supplier for the provision of an ambulance for the force.
The Auditor General says the JDF should discontinue the practice of making payments using quotations instead of original invoice.
Monroe Ellis is also recommending that the army strengthen its commitment control system to ensure that each item of expenditure is supported by the availability of funds.
Last year, the Government and the Opposition clashed over claims by the Spokesman in Finance, Audley Shaw, that public sector agencies owed billions of dollars to their suppliers.
THE GLEANER MINUTE