Categorized | National News

Auditor General’s Report Under Investigation

Investigations into the auditor general’s controversial report are underway, according to Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Hubert Chipman.

Mr. Chipman said he was shocked at the personal attack issued against the Auditor General Terrance Bastian because Mr. Bastian was simply carrying out an audit request made by the PAC.

“We actually requested it in January of 2014. We received the report, as a matter of fact, I think the first week in February. So it took a year for the auditor general to compile this report. This didn’t happen overnight,” Mr. Chipman said.

Mr. Chipman noted that the PAC and Mr. Bastian have not been critical towards Urban Renewal and said that he, in fact, supports it initiatives and an investigation into its small homes repair programme must take place.

“The auditor general is empowered by the constitution. The auditor general has done many, many audits. I don’t think the auditor general criticized the Urban Renewal programme at all from what I read in the papers. However, it was a personal attack on his integrity. I don’t think it’s fair, and I think at the end of the day when the Public Accounts Committee reports the evidence will all be there,” he added.

He confirmed that a number of interviews have been conducted and a report from the PAC should be presented to Parliament in short order.

“We certainly agree with the Urban Renewal Programme. The question is whether in fact we got value for money, that it’s transparent, and whether they’re accountable for it,” he said.

“We have nothing against the Urban Renewal Programme. We have interviewed numerous people within the Urban Renewal Programme. We’ve interviewed the permanent secretary. We’ve interviewed the director of Urban Renewal. We have interviewed the financial controller. We have interviewed several other people in the Urban Renewal Programme. We will be interviewing several others as early as tomorrow,” he added.

On Tuesday Urban Renewal officials disputed claims of fraud made by Mr. Bastian in his auditor’s report.

Co-chairs of Urban Renewal Algernon Allen and Cynthia “Mother” Pratt refuted the auditor general’s report that included claims that contractors were not required to have all-risk insurance.

The report further states a number of inconsistencies including payment for work that was not completed and the absence of a bidding process for contracts.

Though seemingly irate, both co-chairs echoed the good deeds Urban Renewal has performed in the country and said they will continue to dispute negative reports regarding the programme.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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