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Gibson deflects on WSC audit cost

The Water and Sewerage Corporation. FILE

Nearly a year after an audit into the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) was tabled in Parliament, it still remains unclear how much the government paid Ernst & Young (EY) to produce that document.

Asked about the matter following a press conference at the corporation’s headquarters yesterday, WSC Chairman Adrian Gibson said, “The matter has been dealt with by Cabinet, so you would have to speak to Cabinet with respect to that. That is still an ongoing matter.”

Pressed on the costs, Gibson said, “The cost of that audit has been put before the Cabinet. So I would urge you to speak to the Cabinet Office with respect to that.”

Asked why the cost has not yet been revealed, Gibson insisted, “I am fully open…to giving the Bahamian public the cost of the audit.

“However, as I said to you, the matter has been referred to the Cabinet and I therefore would not be the person to speak to it as it would therefore be beyond me.”

But Gibson sang a different tune in July 2018.

At the time, he said WSC had made two payments to EY for the audit.

He said the final cost was still being “settled” with EY.

“We will release all of the data once we have settled the cost,” he said at the time.

“Because it is not settled as yet, entirely, we don’t want to jump the gun.

“As soon as it’s done we will certainly speak to that. There is no hiding of information here.”

The audit was tabled in the House of Assembly in March 2018.

The audit, titled “Project Mako”, revealed irregularities with the tendering and procurement process at the corporation and irregular payments made to a company engaged in a contract with the corporation, among other things.

When he tabled the report in the House of Assembly, Gibson said, “The Water and Sewerage Corporation is a harrowing tale, a case study, Mr. Speaker, of mismanagement, gross negligence, malfeasance, corrupt and or questionable practices, failure to observe and adhere to established protocols, errant and maverick conduct on the part of senior management, complicity, conflict of interest and dereliction of duty.”

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