Categorized | National News

Allen: House Speaker “Failed”

Urban Renewal Co-chair Algernon Allen said the speaker of the House of Assembly has “failed” to protect the organization’s co-chairs, who are involved in this “awful situation” surrounding the audit of its Small Home Repairs Programme.

“It is my considered view that the speaker has failed to protect the private citizens in this case, myself and Mother Pratt,” Allen said during yesterday’s radio talk show Issues of The Day.

He added that the leaking of the auditor general’s report to the media, the excursions in the media by members of the Public Accounts Committee and by others, who should not to be speaking at this stage until that report has been properly dealt with, are simply reprehensible.

Allen expressed that it is his hope that the Speaker of the House of Assembly Kendal Major would seek advice from the House of Assembly’s Chief Clerk Maurice Tynes concerning his role in this matter.

“My understanding is that, that advice has not been accessed by or forthcoming,” Allen said.

On Wednesday, eminent attorneys provided and opinion concerning the matter involving the audit of the Urban Renewal Commission and explained the violation of audit procedures.

Allen said the speaker has a copy of the statement of the opinion, but he can only wait and observe whether the speaker will be guided by it.

The Small Home Repairs Programme’s audit was done last year and suggested a number of improprieties and a possible misuse of funds.

The Urban Renewal co-chairs have denied allegations of wrongdoing on their part and when requested to appear before the PAC neither showed up.

However, at this time, Allen’s says there is no proper audit of the Urban Renewal’s Small Home Repairs Programme until the auditor general’s report is laid before the House of Assembly.

He added that the audit was improperly started because on several occasions the Public Accounts Committee Chairman Hubert Chipman boasted of asking the auditor general to conduct an audit of the Urban Renewal Commission.

In addition, Allen said the audit did not follow the proper procedures in terms of the PAC’s accessibility of the report because it was not laid on the table of the House of Assembly, which is the correct procedure before the committee can have access to it.

Since this was not done, the procedure has been violated.
Allen noted that any request for the auditor general to pursue any audit would be a violation and breach of the auditor general’s integrity in terms of independence under the constitution and would contaminate, as a consequence, such a report.

According to Allen, Chipman was unaware of the gravity of the error he invited the auditor general to carry out when he requested an audit of the Urban Renewal Commission.
In addition, Allen said there is a clear trail of evidence indicating that the auditor general acted in accordance to Chipman’s request.

“That means that the auditor general gave that report to the PAC prior to it being laid on the table of the House of Assembly,” Allen explained.

But the enormity of this “awful situation,” according to Allen is that the purported audit was leaked to the media.

“Now that is a no, no. That breaches every convention, every rule of procedure and it seriously impacts upon the integrity of the audit itself,” he said.

Allen further explained that no one, not even the prime minister can direct the auditor general to pursue a particular audit.

The auditor general doesn’t have to inform the government that he is going into a department to do a report either.

According to Allen, he along with Co-Chair Cynthia “Mother” Pratt were never invited by the auditor general to provide input for the report while it was being made and even after it was completed.

Allen pointed out that he, the government, neither the prime minister were aware that the PAC requested an audit of the Urban Renewal Commission.

He added that Prime Minister Perry Christie became aware of the audit after it commenced.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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