Ministry accounts get failing grades

| 23/02/2011

(CNS): A significant number of annual reports were laid on the table of the Legislative Assembly on Monday but most of them will be of little use to the wider public. Three of the fifteen reports came from the Ministry of District Administration, Planning,Agriculture and Housing covering the financial year ends from 2006 – 2008, all of which carried disclaimers from the auditor general. The money spent by ministry officials during that time cannot be verified and the public cannot be sure how their cash was spent. The auditor general states in his disclaimer that he was unable to verify completeness, accuracy or the valuation of the accounts receivable for a lack of documentation in all three reports.

He also goes on to point out in over three pages of disclaimer that inadequate record keeping and stock taking means there is no way to verify the ministry’s inventory. When it came to plant and equipment, the auditor general revealed that officials were not even sure if some of the buildings the ministry used and maintained belonged to government.

“Management could not verify the ownership of buildings recorded in the fixed asset register,” Alastair Swarbrick, the auditor general, reveals in the disclaimer. “There was uncertainty regarding ownership of other buildings that were not recorded on the fixed assets register but were being maintained and otherwise utilized by the ministry.”

In the last report for 2007/08, the auditor says he was unable to verify accounts payable of over $4 million of public money. He said that $323,000 presented as employee entitlements was not substantiated and documents didn’t support the figure of $18.2 million for personnel costs. The disclaimer also said the ministry’s claim of a net worth balance of $21.4 million had no supporting evidence.

Everything from consumables to cash flow statements were unsupported and the auditor repeats over and over that he cannot verify their accuracy.

The reports are now public documents and hard copies are available from the Legislative Assembly. The FOI disclosure log on the website for the Ministry of DAPAH has not been updated since 18 September 2008 (as of 11:00am today) and so far no documentation has been logged.

Of the remaining reports, two came from the Turtle Farm for the years ending 2007 and 2008 and six from the National Roads Authority, bringing that government entity up to date. The Water Authority submitted a report for the year ending 2009, as did the Airports Authority. Both the ERA and CINICO submitted their 2010 reports.

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  1. Anonymous9 says:

    If this article had a laugh/smiley face button, I’d click it.

    That or go cry in my beer.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So this is what we got after paying KPMG over $2 million to help with the backlog accounts. Some of these CFOs are really not up to it…please just step aside

  3. Anonymous says:

     Do these clowns even have the necessary accounting skills to fulfill these positions – obviously not – who appointed them and on what basis – off with the heads of those responsible!! 

    • Anonymous says:

      I would say off with the heads of those who appointed them…except they probably don’t HAVE any.

  4. Scrooge McDuck says:

    The true reason behind the abysmal accounting is they didn’t have to account for anything.  They just scooped it up, distributed the loot amongst themselves, promoted each other, gave jobs to friends, collected pensions and salaries and then traded places.  The choices are extremely limited when you have career politicians.  Read that word.  Career.  They are not career politicians because they have developed skills or knowledge.  They are career politicians because it is the best-paying, least accountable job any of them could ever find. 

    So what if we misplaced money.  It wasn’t our money.  So what you’re out of work.  We’re not.  So what if your pension was stolen.  Ours weren’t. No sir we wouldn’t allow it.  So what if you can’t afford groceries or bills.  I’ve got a cook and my bills are paid.  So what if your business is going broke.  Our friend’s business is ok.  So what if you can’t afford petrol.  We’re flying to Spain.  So what if you had to lay off workers. 

    We’re making more MLAs.  Guess who’s going to pay their salaries? And their pensions.  You are bobo.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The bush wacker math is a joke.
    Now we can see how the govt will end the year with a surplus despite the absence of audited accounts.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Man, I’m sick of constantly getting a black eye because of the incompetence of these 8 or so people that the Government call CFOs, let’s just deal with them and the powers that be in the Ministry of Finance and restore some pride for the rest of us.

  7. Anonymous says:

    why has the CO been kiept on then?

  8. Anonymous says:

    CNS where did you get the picture? Mac’s most recent budget meeting? 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:

    more proof that cayman is not fit to manage or govern its own affairs…..

    direct rule please!….any comment from gov taylor?

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not entirely sure why you would want direct rule to be enforced here?  First, the UK has been condemned by the world nations (, Bermuda and other members of CARICOM for the drastic actions taken in TCI as both unnecessary and unconstitutional. Secondly, look at the current financial output TCI is currently facing.  The country is still heavily indebted after 18 months of direct rule so your argument in not valid. While I may agree that some of the CFO’s in government performances are lack luster, the grounds for dismissing a civil service are very limited.  This issue of dating audited reports need to be addressed immediately and the consequences of poor mismanagement and crap accounting need to be rectified, in order to allow for the removal of those persons for incompetence.