Internal credit card audit focused on poor records

| 24/09/2014

(CNS): Details of an audit into government credit card use, which was conducted by the internal audit unit sometime in 2009 and introduced into the McKeeva Bush trial by the defence team this week, did not expose personal use of those credit cards by government staff, the court heard Thursday. Instead it documented numerous charges with missing receipts and poor record keeping on official transactions and the risks that posed. CNS erroneously stated in an earlier article that George McCarthy was chief secretary at the time of the audit and responsible for some $5,500 of non-receipted charges, however as a result of a clarification of dates, the chief secretary in post at the time was Donovan Ebanks. Those charges were also confirmed as legitimate government business.

During the redirection of Franz Manderson’s evidence by the crown Wednesday, Duncan Penny QC queried the current deputy governor about this audit and his involvement following heavy criticisms from the defence that Manderson seemed to know nothing about the report or the audit's findings. However, he confirmed that it took place before he was appointed as the head of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs.

The attorney clarified with Manderson that the period in question that the auditors had examined regarding the card use was between July 2008 to July 2009 and the findings related to official transactions where receipts were missing as well as general poor record keeping. The report was said to have concluded that the lack of documented procedures could lead to improper purchases but it had not specified any personal transactions.

During the re-examination Penny also asked Manderson to clarify a personal transaction made by the Speaker of the House, about which he had been briefed in 2009 after taking up the top job in the portfolio.

The deputy governor said that he was aware of that transaction, which was said to be “a small amount” at a US supermarket known as Publix. As soon as he learned about the charge Manderson said he asked staff to notify the speaker and request an immediate payment or a deduction from her salary. Asked why he took such steps, Manderson told the court it was because this was not “what the government credit cards are given for”.  

Asked about the representations made after his request, the deputy governor was prevented from answering following an objection from Bush’s defence attorney.

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