Wed | Aug 4, 2021

Monroe Ellis parries Clarke’s nepotism grilling

Published:Wednesday | June 16, 2021 | 12:12 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Parliamentary Reporter
Pamela Monroe Ellis, auditor general, at the sitting of the PAC in Gordon House on Tuesday.
Pamela Monroe Ellis, auditor general, at the sitting of the PAC in Gordon House on Tuesday.

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis told members of a parliamentary oversight committee on Tuesday that she did not prepare reports on the basis of hearsay but on evidence.

Her statement comes against the background of questions from St James Central Member of Parliament Heroy Clarke on allegations of nepotism involving a former minister of labour in 2012.

Clarke has sought to pin down Monroe Ellis on whether she saw evidence of nepotism in a case where the then minister’s daughter was employed in an administrative role in the Canadian farm work programme.

But Monroe Ellis argued that while there was a common name, she found no evidence for that conclusion.

“If I am not able to confirm it, I am not going to report it because someone says so. So where you see me speak about nepotism, it’s because it is black and white. It can be proven. It is explicit that that individual gave instruction,” she said.

The auditor general said there was no evidence of a directive from any minister to have his daughter employed.

Monroe Ellis told members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday that nepotism findings in her audits of the Caribbean Maritime University and Petrojam shone light on individuals who gave instructions to engage related parties.

Clarke, who sits on the PAC, yesterday asked Monroe Ellis if the same name – that of the minister and his daughter – did not strike a chord at the time when she carried out her audit of the programme.

Monroe Ellis later told Clarke that if he had evidence that the then minister had given instructions for his daughter to be employed, then he had a duty to highlight it.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com