St Lucia opposition questions ‘forensic audit’


 
  1. The UWP said it is appalled that the government and its agents continue to   mislead the public by referring to the report as a “forensic audit”. A   forensic accountant is a professional with very specific qualifications and a   forensic audit follows particular procedures and methodologies. None of the   individuals named as authors of the report are qualified in this field.   Besides, the language of the report and the methods used are not in keeping   with the approach of a forensic audit. The government should cease   misrepresenting the forensic accounting profession in their attempt to give   credibility to a report and process which are fundamentally flawed.
 
  2. It was not the government of Saint Lucia which made the decision that the   monies donated by Taiwan should not be channeled through the Consolidated   Fund. It was a requirement of the donor – the government of Taiwan. This is   not something new. There are numerous examples during the tenure in office of   both political parties. It must be remembered however that the requirements   of the donor in terms of accountability for the funds were complied with. If   they were not, the donor would stop or suspend the disbursement of funds to   individual projects. It is documented that this happened in only one case.
 
  3. The UWP noted that the office of the director of audit, which is the   agency responsible for the conduct of audits of government institutions, has   lamented that her office was not involved in this audit. “Unlike the Castries   City Council where the director of audit has the explicit mandate to audit   the financial statements it is not so for the town and village councils. For   the last four years the councils were included as programs under the ministry   of housing and urban renewal. The town and village councils were not required   to present us with financial statements for audit.” (Page 61) One must wonder   why. Is it that the government had a particular agenda and the Director of   Audit would not compromise the professionalism of her office? The government   should refrain from using civil servants to pursue its political motives.   Saint Lucians should also bear in mind that the present prime minister, as   leader of the opposition for five years was chairman of the Public Accounts   Committee of Parliament and the party is not aware that he convened any   meeting of that committee to consider the reports of the director of audit.
 
  4. It is not surprising that the government selected the occasion of the presentation   of the annual budget to release this report. The government is well aware   that the budget presented was one which gave no hope to the people of Saint   Lucia. The removal of subsidies on basic food commodities such as rice, sugar   and flour, huge increases in the cost of water and other goods and services   as well as the compounding effect of the VAT will erode the disposable income   of the average Saint Lucian and contribute to a reduction in their standard   of living. The timing of the release was therefore carefully orchestrated in   order to divert attention from these bread and butter issues.
 
  5. The UWP is committed to the principle of holding persons to account. The   party has a proud record of management of the public funds while in office.   The UWP therefore does not condone any wrong doing in that regard. Persons   who, it is proven have broken the law or violated established procedures from   whichever political party should be dealt with appropriately.
 
  The UWP has assembled a team of professionals with the requisite credentials   and qualifications to study the report in detail and offer appropriate   recommendations. The party will offer a more detailed response at the   conclusion of this exercise.

   

 

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