Miller says accounts are in

| 08/10/2010

(CNS): Following a closed door meeting of the Legislative Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee this week, chair Ezzard Miller said that all of the relevant government agencies have managed to get their latest financial accounts to the Auditor General’s Office. Miller said that not every entity made the 31 August deadline but most came close and the rest are now all with the AG. Miller added that financial officers throughout the public sector were finally beginning to make headway with government’s long overdue accounts, and while the 30 September deadline for the backlog was missed, they were at least coming close to addressing the overall problem of financial delinquency. (Photo by Dennie Warren)

“It appears that things are going very well and I was pleasantly surprised,” Miller said about his latest PAC meeting. “We didn’t make the 30 September deadline to have the backlog completed but, to be honest, it was far more of a target than a deadline. I never had any great expectations that it would be achieved but it was something to work towards.”
 
The government has been wrestling with a backlog of financial reports for over five years. The last time an annual audited report of government accounts was completed was for the financial year 2003/04. Since then government entities have failed to meet the requirements of the Public Management and Finance Law and have not been submitting accounts to the AG’s office. The delinquency problem was brought to public attention by the former auditor general, Dan Duguay, in a special report entitled "The State of financial accountability reporting", dated April 2008.
 
The issue became a bone of contention for senior public servants, with everything from Hurricane Ivan to the PMF law itself being blamed for the problem. It also became a hot issue during the election with candidates promising to get the accounts sorted out if they came to office.
 
Miller said the important thing now was that measurable progress was finally being made across the various government entities. Of all of the government departments, ministries and companies, only one entity was still working on its 07/08 accounts. Of the government portfolios and ministries, only one had not started on the 08/09 accounts, and all the statutory authorities that were behind are now working on their 08/09 backlog, the chair revealed.
 
Running in parallel to the catch-up, finance departments had also been asked to ensure that they all got their 09/10 accounts into the audit office by the statutory deadline, which was 31 August. Miller did not name names, but he said that while some did not make the 31 August deadline, every single entity had submitted financial records to the audit office by Thursday morning, 7 October.
 
“We are getting on track at last,” Miller said. “I think there is modest progress for all the entities involved and there is no doubt the difficult part has been trying to go back so far and find records.”
 
The North Side independent MLA, who was voted chair of PAC in the wake of the election in May 2009, said that from the start he hoped that he would be able to get the public accounts back in order and have at least two full annual government reports before the end of his term as chair of the committee.
 
“All being well, we are set to have the 2010/11 accounts done in accordance with the Public Management and Finance Law,” he said. “The PAC and the AG’s office has spent time working on a clear format for accounts submissions and how financials are presented to the AG. As everyone now knows what is expected, we are on a more sound footing for future account keeping.”
 
Miller said the day was not far away when the people would be able to see in detail exactly where and how public money was being spent.      
 
With all hands on accounts, Miller said there were no further AG reports expected for PAC to consider and the next public meeting ofthe committee was likely to be in December, when the AG had finished his government annual report. “We have asked the AG to focus entirely on this issue, and once the public accounts are back in order we expect he will be turning his attention to value for money audits,” Miller said.
 
He also noted that he was able to get a quorum for this latest PAC meeting as Dwayne Seymour and Moses Kirkconnell were both in attendance. However, the other two members of the committee, Cline Glidden MLA for West Bay, who was overseas, and Elio Solomon, MLA for George Town, did not attend.
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Comments (16)

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  1. Reality Check says:

    The headline should read some but not all government officials did their job.  No plaudits for that.  There should be disciplinary actions for every department head where the accounts were filed out of time.  Nearly is not good enough.

  2. Citizen 16852-3 says:

    PLEASE don’t make these people out to be heroes Mr. Miller.  Or even remotely competent.  Eventaking into consideration the wishful thinking of Ivan as an excuse… the yearly accounts were still not submitted for 05-06, 06-07, 07-08 nor 08-09 in accordance with the Public Accounts LAW. 

    Lax is too good a word for this performance and, it has apparently taken them this long to juggle the figures and provide something appearing to be an accounting.

    Lest we forget also it was Dan Duguay who decided to light a fire under their over-paid a$$es.  Until he was eliminated.  Err…his contract was not re-newed.

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    The fact that recent accounts were submitted almost on time is GOOD NEWS. The AG is going to look at them and then you can too. How can you possibly know that reports THAT YOU HAVE NOT SEEN are going to be junk? Big mouth fools…

    • Citizen 16852-3 says:

      excuse me deep pockets??  all people have seen is begging and pleading and cajoling with cfo’s about the accounts. for upwards of five years. not a good track record. in case you aren’t aware…cfo stands for chief financial officer.  their one and only job is to keep track of accounts for various ministries, government entities, etc. and submit reports. for this they are paid handsomely. out of your pocket. incapable of doing so in a timely manner, outside accounting firms were hired to do this job. out of your pocket. because….what reports or information finally submitted late as they may been were incomplete or incomprehensible to the former ag.  remember?  so… either the information is now complete and understandable, or the new ag to accommodate this seeming cluster-#u*k has lowered their accounting standards. 

      although at least two deadlines have come and gone we wait… with baited breath and trembling pockets.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a whopper of a lie!!! But, we finally have bipartisanship!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is not true. This is an attempt to cover the true story. Why was there suddenly a PAC close door session? There is an attempt here to "trick" the people into silence. Just read Miller’s quoted statements, half truths, and boy, he is the best at it.

  6. Businessman says:

    If this is true, and I hope so we need to think 2 things:

    1- Why is that an independent member of the LA needs to execute? That is the job of ministers! May be he should be the Minister of Finance, and judging by the lack of execution on all the Ministers should probably be the Premier. The businesses are scared of him, but lets be serious, how much worse than this or the previous Government can it be?

    2- How is that he can do in less than 6 months what a top civil servant that is paid as much as him has not done in 6 years although the civil servant is an accountant and he isn’t? Why is it that there is no accountability and that civil servant is not fired? XXXX

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good job!  At least, Miller is doing something about it!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t care if the credit goes to Miller, Coors, or Heinekin. I am just pleased to see that an effort is being made, and that should be lauded.

    With PAC committee membership being a "Caymanian only" job, is there any reason why the Elio is holding up progress by being absent? Is he upset that he hasn’t been given an overseas vacation to look at something or other?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I personally don’t believe Mr. Miller.  Sir show us proof.  How can proper 10-11 statements be submitted when you haven’t delivered 09-10 statements yet (let alone 08-09, 07-08 and so on?  If you don’t have the previous years starting point how do you properly move forward.  My guess, accounts were submitted – not proper accounts but an exercise to satisfy Mr. Miller’s "deadline". 

    • Pending says:

      Here here.

      Absolutely no way that accounts were submitted from 04/05 till the present, they must think we are all really really stupid.

       

    • Anonymous says:

      As well, I personally don’t believe in… flying elephants

      I personally don’t believe tibbetts and mckeevas…

      Cayman Islands been asking PROOF from all of them for a long time. Happy though that Miller was assigned to this task and not one of the two above.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I too wonder whether the accounts are truly in order or if simply paperwork was submitted to meet the deadline.  Only time will tell but I’m not hopeful.  Once we see the audited accounts we’ll know for sure.  I’m betting it’s not going to be pretty.

    • anonymous, says:

      Good work Ezzard. A true leader and candidate for premier in 2013.

      Good and responsible leadership keeps  a close tab on spending and keeping the books that reflect the status of the pulic Purse.

      Good work Ezzard.

      But we want yo involved in more things than just finance., What about Immigration, Labor, development, crime, etc, etc. We want you to show your face on these issues as well.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Finally! Progress!

    It will be interesting to see if the financial statements are credible or merely just a bunch of paper designed to "game" the system.

    I am hoping for the best and am looking forward to the Auditor General’s first report. It will be interesting reading.

    An interesting FOI request would be to find out how much money was spent for external consultants who did the work that was supposed to be done by "hard working" civil servants.

    • Anonymouse says:

      And how many of each there were. You, may be surprised to learn how much government is willing to pay someone else to do work for them compared to how much they are not willing to pay to have it done in-house.