Financial Secretary looking into report

| 05/08/2008

In the wake of the Auditor General’s damning report, The State of Financial Accountability Reporting, the Portfolio of Finance and Economics said yesterday, 4 August, that it was addressing the concerns raised in it.

The concerns included serious delinquency in financial accountability in just about every government department, agency, entity and portfolio, going back in some cases as far as 2004 leaving some $1.5 billion of government budgets officially unaccounted for. In short, most government entities have fallen short in some way of the legal acounting requirements for reporting government spending as set out in the Public Management and Finance Law  (PMFL).

Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson’s office said that, although it continues to consult with all stakeholders in respect of the matters raised in the report, it had nothing to add to its press release issued on 18 July.

In that release Jefferson criticised Auditor General DanDuguay for discussing the contents of the report to the media before it was officially made public anddenied that there were $1.5 billion in outstanding government reports.

However, the report indicates that the figure may in fact have been a conservative estimate and also lays the blame for the final delay in the report making its way to the Legislative Assembly at the Financial Secretary’s door.

In his 18 July release Jefferson, observed that Duguay’s early disclosure of details from the report was premature release and resulted in an, “unbalanced article of unwarranted gloom and doom.”  However, the content of the report confirms details revealed in a Cayman Net News article that the Financial Secretary has yet to defend.

Speaking to CNS Monday, 4 August, Dan Duguay once again emphasised that the important thing now is to address the accounting problems in government offices.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Financial Secretary to address the problems as outlined in the report,” he said. “I am pleased that the report is receiving wide coverage and that the Public Accounts Committee has agreed to have a look at the situation. I’m happy to work with all parties to get this issue resolved.”

The Legislative Assembly is currently in August recess and the Leader of the Public Accounts Committee Osbourne Bodden, MLA for Bodden Town has reportedly said that it will be five weeks before the committee will convene a hearing to question Chief Officers and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) from the various ministries, portfolios, statutory authorities and government entities on the failures raised by Duguay’s report.


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