AG silent on public accounts

| 02/09/2010

(CNS): The Auditor General’s Office has refused to comment on how many government ministries and statutory authorities made the 31 August deadline for submitting their financial accounts for the year end 2009/10. CNS called the office on Wednesday morning and a spokesperson for the new auditor general said he would be making no comment as it formed part of ongoing work, which the office had said it would not discuss. The spokesperson stated that the situation regarding government’s accounts would be revealed in the auditor general’s annual government report, which would be published in December. As a result CNS has now submitted an FOI request.

Under the Public Management and Finance Law government ministries, portfolios, companies and statutory authorities are required to hand in financial reports for auditing to the Auditor General’s Office on 31 August. The AG and his team have until the end of October to complete the audits. Then the government bodies must prepare their annual reports, including the financial statements and the audit reports, in order to table them in the Legislative Assembly by 14 November. Finally, government should table its consolidated financial statements in an annual report, which includes the AG office’s opinion, by 15 December.
 
The audit office told CNS that once the whole annual report was completed in December the new AG, Alastair Swarbrick, will be happy to comment on the situation and how government had met its reporting responsibilities.
 
“Until we issue that report, we are not in a position to discuss the status of the work we are doing with the media, which would effectively pre-empt the communication we have with the members of the Legislative Assembly to whom we report the results of our work,” the AG’s spokesperson said.
 
The issue of government entities failing to make the necessary reporting deadlines in relation to their responsibility to the public has been a huge controversy. Government has not completed a set of annual reports for over six years and many entities remain significantly behind with their reports.
 
Extra help had been drafted in to assist CFOs across government, at further expense to the public purse, to help them meet this year’s deadline while simultaneously addressing their delinquent accounts for previous years.
 
Although the AG has said he will discuss the issue in December, CNS made a formal FOI request to the AG’s office this morning following the office’s refusal to reveal which government bodies had met this year’s deadline and which had not, on the basis that the public has a right to know which government entities are meeting their legal obligations and which are not.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

Comments (38)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Dennis says:

    Thank you AG for not jumping up and down in the press and getting no where.Get on with your job and do what is necessary without being a cowboy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What will it take for the Caymanian people to realize that they are now and have been lied to for the past 6 years as far as what (and more important who) their money has been spent on. Do you really for even a second think that they (CIG) will now do the right thing and tell the truth? When have they ever told the people the truth?  All that money is long gone and will never return.  All that is left is to make up reasons, fake reports, point fingers, and for some get out of town while the getting is good.  All of this takes time and an extreme effort on the part ofthe ministries whonow have yet another deadline to meet.

    Answer to the Question:  A MIRACLE.

  3. Anon says:

     

    The real question is…

    Where is the Premier anyway?

    Anyone seen or heard from him recently?

    I thought for a minute he was in Mexico signing some important agreement but soon realised that was done by mail.

    Perhaps he is on another road show selling bonds since govt cant find any bank to lend us the 155 million we need to close the hole in our budget.

    Better get that loan soon cause with no money to count the Auditor General will soon be out of a job along with many civil servants!

  4. Scrooge McDuck says:

    The AG has stated that he will release whatever account information he has received in December……regardless of whether it is complete or not.  Listen Mr. AG as I have said before how relevant is incomplete information?  When these departments and ministries have had all of six years and then some and – missed deadlines given to them?  Such as the most recent one CNS has made enquiries about.

    Is it a lack of trust on the public’s part?  You bet!  Something stinks.

    There is some wishful thinking on the part of this new Auditor General which is just the kind of guy they wanted.

  5. Anonymouse says:

    Give the AG a break. Poor Guy must still be trying to figure out how to get rid of his first hangover. Give him time and allow him to acclimatize.

  6. Anonymous says:

    At least someone knows  ‘PR’ relations.

    • Anonymous says:

      "PR relations"?

      PR must stand for Pure Revenge and he understands that if he opens his mouth that is what will happen as did to the previous AG.

    • Pauly Cicero says:

      He must have learnt it from the Department of Redundancy Department.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Do you know what must have given the civil service a laugh?

    When the government sent a request to each department about cutting said department.

    How many responses to you think the government received?

  8. Mickey Mouse Too says:

    “….which would effectively pre-empt the communication we have with the members of the Legislative Assembly to whom we report the results of our work…..”

    Come on CNS…this FOI is pure press spin. You know he cannot release information to you until he does to the LA members whom he reports to. I am sure you knew answer before you asked….not sure why you want him to stop his work now to give you info that is really irrelevant anyhow. What we need to know is the accounting information, not who sent a memo to the AG and who did not by August 31st.

  9. Fuzzy Durant says:

    While I applaud your "quick off the mark" approach, your FOI request will be refused on the grounds that the information you requested will be made available in the normal course of business (as you have been told).   I am sure the AG has no intention to hide anything, but a 24 hour grace period is insufficient for either he or his office to make any valid assessment of the material which may or may not have been provided by the various departments. 

    Methinks a bit trigger happy on the FOI request and the unnecessary innuendo.  You’re better than that, even in silly season.

    • brainy braccer says:

      it’s basic information that could be gathered in 5 mins….. what are they afraid of?

    • Anonymous says:

      Folks the ask seem to have been ‘What Departments missed the Aug 31 Deadline’ . I believe on Sept 1 this becomes a valid question.

      In the private sector you would be held accountable for missing a deadline, why should’nt the same rules be applied here!!!!

      We allow these incompetent Public Servants to get away with a lot.

       

  10. Macman says:

    Well this is no surprise.

    The reason our Dictator got rid of the last AG was because he was open and transparent. The last thing this government (read as McKeeva) wants is for us the voting public to know what is really happening.

    Once certain people make their millions from all these UDP projects (again read as Mckeeva) then who cares if they get elected again.

  11. Nose bleed says:

    CNS:  "The Auditor General’s Office has refused to comment on how many government ministries and statutory authorities made the 31 August deadline for submitting their financial accounts for the year end 2009/10. CNS called the office on Wednesday morning and a spokesperson for the new auditor general said he would be making no comment as it formed part of ongoing work, which the office had said it would not discuss."

    LOL… CNS that is what you get!  :o)  Ha ha… too nosy and can’t mind your own business. They should have responded by recommending you to an FOI request.  What were you thinking???

  12. Slowpoke says:

    After this report comes out, it will be the final nail in the PMFL coffin. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would that be, Slowpoke? Because it would demonstrate how incompetent our too highly paid senior civil servants are so the messenger must be shot??

      • Slowpoke says:

        I just think that if a system has not, is not, can not, will not, work, for whatever multitude of reasons, it is the AG’s prerogative to suggest that it should be scrapped.

         

        It is after all "value for money" that is key here.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, I see. Thanks for that fair point.

          .It would be refreshing if the Auditor General or anyone else of seniority in Government would say that if a senior civil servant with supposed qualifications to hold that highly paid position "has not, is not, can not, will not, work for whatever multitude of reasons", he/she must be assessed and if necessary let go. But  of course it won’t happen. Much easier to blame a "system" than try to get rid of civil servants with vast voting power. This has been the case for the last 40 years which is why the Civil Service has such terrible dead wood, including chief officers allowed to work after their retirement age, just because their minister is comfortable with their yes sir/ma’am compliance.

          • Anonymous says:

            Great post, Anon 19;56, with a nice touch of relevant humour. No civil servant – but especially the top ones  – are held accountable for their performance. Witness a chief officer quoted recently in the Compass as saying a department in his Ministry had "got out of control" and discussing it as if he had nothing to do with it!

            Hilarious! He’s the effing chief officer who is in charge of/supervising/responsible for/accountable for the performance/running  of that department in his ministry and he’s telling the media it’s out of control???!!!!

            And for that, chief officers get paid around $130,000. CI$ that is.

          • Slowpoke says:

            I fully agree that one of the issues is with the current post-holders and whether they are qualified, competent, have the skills, etc.  But, I am hesitant to single out individuals based on the fact that this problem is so pervasive.  If it was one Department or Authority, fair enough.

            But, If you look at it from a "system" perspective, why are we not holding accountable the people that hired them, if they are incompetent?  Also, what if the people that are to provide them with the necessary information fail to do so?  Furthermore, what if their supervisors discourage them from providing the information?  Etc.

            I just don’t think the CIG was ready for PMFL and flogging a dead horse will not bring it back to life.  Also, it is costing us mucho $$$ as we blog.

            • Anonymous says:

              We don’t hold them accountable because that is just not how the civil service "works". No on is ever held to be accountable, not even the top civil servant, whoever he or she is. It’s just not done.

              It’s a difficult situation. Just suppose the Governor decided to dismiss Donovan Ebanks for non performance (I’m not saying Mr Ebanks is not performing – just being hypothetical). Who would he replace him with? It has to be a Caymanian (preferably the "born" variety). Mr Manderson, maybe. Then someone ( a Caymanian) has to replace him. But the talent pool is very, very small and contains some very young (albeit bright) candidates with only a modicum (not even that in some cases) of weighty experience.

              If anyone wishes to challenge the statement about the size of the talent pool, please accompany your challenge with some names or if preferred their current post titles. Just denying the truth of the statement is too easy and wont cut it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you say that, Slowpoke? Could you explain?

  13. Que says:

    Actually, what the AG is doing is following due process with which I agree. Yes, the public has a right to know and will know the status of the reports but just not on Sep 1, it will take place a few months later after some work has been done. The work includes discussions on the completeness of the reports submitted. This is a perfectly acceptable approach which happens in the private sector as well: many discussions take place between the management of a company and it’s auditors before information or reports are released to the shareholder of the company.  Sorry CNS, I don’t agree with the FOI in this case.

    • pee says:

      I would agree with this, if the request were for a list of those who haven’t submitted full and final reports, a period of review would be required over a period of time to ascertain this list.

      Would it have been too hard to collate some basic information, a bit more of who hasn’t even handed in a dog eared hand written single page of homework, surely that wouldn’t have been too hard to reply to and may have had the desired effect.

      If you had a deadline of 31st August and yet know there is no consequence of missing that deadline where is the motivation?

      I say publish a basic list of who have delivered a report, those who have delivered a partial report and those whose dog ate their homework.

    • Ex-pat Eric says:

      Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that if a private company, which is publicly traded, doesn’t release their financial reports on the specified date then there are severe consequences.

      • Que says:

        That’s good a comparison, the deadline of Aug 31 that is now in the limelight is submitting the financial statements to the auditors who still need to do their work before releasing the statements to the public. The equivalent deadline of releasing financial statements to shareholders of a public company has not yet been reached, that deadline is somewhere after October for the CI Government.

  14. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    The first impression is a lasting one.  I am not impressed Mr. Swarbrick…

  15. Anonymous says:

    well done CNS!

    looks like the mckeeva and the governor have got the stooge AG they wanted……

  16. Patriot says:

    You journalists and your questions.  You are bringing this country down.  It is not our way.  Be quiet.  Accept.  The law is made by us it does not apply to us.  Don’t you know who my father is.  My cousin works in Immigration.  I can have you thrown off island. Stop asking questions.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Really what are the consequences when you are a civil service employee for non performance at any level?

    Take the Tom Jones mess for example, there is a multimillion dollar liability and without a doubt there will be no consequences for any involved.

    Don’t think that those responsible for the financials know nothing will happen as a consequence because there is no down side.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, CNS. These folk have been above the law for the longest time.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps if the names of those departments/entities who have failed to submit their finnancials at the stated deadline, as called for in the law, were made public at the very onset, the people responsible would be more pressured/inclined to submit their financials as early as possible thereafter. Then regular update should be made public to further pressure the people responsible. It angers me to see these senior well paid staff get away with not submitting this very important  document and hold the country at ransom. This would be totally unacceptable in the private sector and the outcome of such "gross negligence" in the private sector is well known..

    • Pending says:

      I think you looking to reference the expression "soon come"?

      There has never been any consequence for any Minister, Senior level official in the LA down here since the day I was born, all you need to do is look at the person who calls himself  the Premier.

      And they don’t give a rats ass because they are who they are, simple.

      Any other country not run by a dictator would have to answer to their misgivings, end of story. Sadly though one thought comes to mind…"only in Cayman".

  20. Anonymous says:

    Once bitten twice shy, you tink him fool? I nah tell you nothing, you want mig Mac tek off him belt?

    • The King Has No Clothing! says:

      I tink dat if mig Mac tek off his belt his pants faw down.