By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A top private sector representative said yesterday that the Bahamas needed to “get to the root causes” of the fraud and corruption identified in recent Auditor General, while also strengthening its public institutions.
Gowon Bowe, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) chairman, stressed that there must be prosecution of individuals found to be involved in such acts.
He was commenting in the wake of an Auditor General’s report on the Road Traffic Department, covering the period July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2015, which warned of a “severe lack of order” and control surrounding its assets and collection of revenue.
This report is the latest by the Auditor-General to highlight issues of fraud, negligence and corruption in key government departments.
“One of the things I think is highlighted is that these things have to be done in a timely manner. Most of these reports filed cover several years,” Mr Bowe said.
“Sometimes the difficulty is in how quickly you can fix the issues, and whether you still have access to the individuals to ensure that they are held accountable. After that, it really boils down to ensuring that we change the systems and processes.”
He added: “We have had enough reports and findings to know that institutional strengthening is one we have to focus on in all of our major agencies and all of our major departments of government.
“We have to make sure we have the right people doing the right thing at the right time. I think that a lot of the time we focus on what the findings are as opposed to identifying the root causes and makings sure it is corrected, and that we don’t have a repeat.”
Mr Bowe continued: “We certainly should be processing and ensuring that persons carrying out acts of malfeasance are brought before the courts and made to answer for what they have done, and are financially penalised so that it is a deterrent for the underlings and persons who may be tempted to follow suit.”