By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
FINANCE Minister K Peter Turnquest said yesterday “a number” of forensic audits into government corporations and departments have been completed and tabled in the House of Assembly.
However, he could not say definitively which audits were finished and laid in Parliament.
“I think you are aware that a number of the audits have been completed and they have been laid at Parliament and so I believe, I’m not sure whether there are any further ones that are outstanding at the moment, but we have certainly fulfilled our commitments in that regard and, of course, as situations arise we may do other things,” the deputy prime minister said when he was asked by reporters for a status update on the promised audits.
Further questioned on whether this meant audits on the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute, Urban Renewal, Bank of the Bahamas, the General Post Office and the Hurricane Relief Fund were complete, he responded: “The ones that we considered priorities have been done and tabled, or they are still in process but they haven’t been finalised.”
Asked to differentiate between the audits that are in process from those that have been completed, he said: “You just named them.”
The Minnis administration announced early in its term in office that several forensic audits would be conducted. Among those announced in a statement from Cabinet following its first meeting in May 2017, were probes into Urban Renewal, BOB and BAMSI.
The statement was released by Bahamas Information Services and said other departments and programmes were to be audited.
It also said a decision had been made that all ministers were to conduct audits within their respective ministries of people hired on contract, their job titles, salaried and periods of contract.
Last October, an audit was tabled in the House revealing that web shop boss Pete Deveaux, CEO of Island Game, had received a large contract from the Ministry of Finance. It said a $1.46m computer supply contract had been awarded to Mr Deveaux who earned a 30 percent profit margin on the deal.
The revelation was made by former Ministry of Finance Financial Secretary Simon Wilson and disclosed to the auditor general, exposing multiple internal control and procurement failings in the Ministry of Finance.
A report into Urban Renewal was also tabled in October covering fiscal years July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017.
It revealed that 22 contractors in the small home repairs programme under Urban Renewal’s Grand Bahama arm did not have the supporting documents to ensure they were verified as licenced operators.
There were also more than 20 instances where supporting documents for small home repairs did not include evidence of a bid from the contractual awardee. In these instances, the supporting document from the awardee was an invoice.
The auditor general also found in a probe of the Post Office Savings Bank’s 2014-2015 fiscal year that the entity did not know how much money it held in customer deposits.
This report was also tabled in October 2018 and found that Savings Bank staff were unable to determine the amount of funds held in both active and dormant accounts.