Sun | Oct 24, 2021

Nothing to hide!

Auditor general says she is answerable to the people

Published:Thursday | May 20, 2021 | 12:07 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Parliamentary Reporter
Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis
Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis yesterday revealed that she was the one who contacted chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Julian Robinson, to appear before the oversight body, as she had “nothing to hide” and “was answerable to the people of Jamaica”.

Some government lawmakers on the PAC had given notice to Monroe Ellis that they had questions not directly related to the current audit done by the Ministry of Finance of the Auditor General’s Department (AuGD).

“I was not asked to come before the PAC. I contacted you, Mr Chairman, because I believe I am answerable to the people of Jamaica,” the auditor general highlighted.

“I come before the PAC knowing very well that I would likely be asked questions that are unrelated to the report, but as I say, Mr Chairman, I am not fearful. I have nothing to hide,” she added.

The auditor general’s hard-hitting department has been instrumental in uncovering corruption and breach of government laws and guidelines over respective administrations.

She made it clear yesterday that if she did not have the answer to questions outside of the audit, she would not speak from an uninformed position.

“I am answerable to the people of Jamaica. I have nothing to hide, I welcome all questions, but I must be given time to provide the answers if I do not have it at the moment,” she insisted.

Last week, Monroe Ellis told the PAC that she was not on the island when the entrance interview was taking place with auditors from the Ministry of Finance. She said that she did not see the letter from the internal auditor at the finance ministry informing of the date of the entrance interview.

The auditor general said that her IT officer was trying to recover her emails from 2019 to check her calendar to determine why she did not attend the July 4 meeting.

BETTER JUDGEMENT

However, the country’s chief auditor said she “went against her better judgement and principle” and provided information which later turned out to be inaccurate.

“I don’t want the impression to be given that I did not take this matter seriously,” she said.

She said that the practice that existed in many ministries, departments and agencies was that any request made by the AuGD must pass the desk of the head of the agency. “I don’t impose that requirement,” said Monroe Ellis, adding that once the audit starts, a directive was given by her to the corporate service division to furnish the information to the auditor.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com