Monday, Oct 14, 2019
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PAC won’t probe NSA audit

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) does not intend to probe a recent auditor general’s report into the National Sports Authority (NSA) because not all auditor’s reports need to be looked into, PAC Chairman Philip Brave Davis said yesterday.

The report, which was tabled in the House of Assembly earlier this month, found that a consultancy company was paid over $1.1 million for work that was never done; that contracts issued by the authority “lacked formalized process and transparency”; and that, at times, the NSA’s executive management “operated in contravention of the Financial Regulations”.

When asked if the PAC intends to probe the report, Davis said, “Not at this time.”

He added: “The Public Accounts Committee, I take very seriously and I do not intend to have the committee get involved in any sort of what I call blame games.”

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader noted that “not all auditor’s reports we need to look into”.

The audit covered the period from July 2011 to December 2017.

Davis served as deputy prime minister from 2012 until 2017.

He said he is drafting a report, which he intends to present in Parliament today, addressing his committee’s concerns and “how our work has been handicapped”.

Davis has said that the report details the work the PAC has done to date and the obstacles it has encountered in carrying out its functions.

Centreville MP Reece Chipman resigned from the PAC in January.

He said his decision was based on, among other things, a lack of action on the part of the committee.

Chipman said that in addition to this lack of action, he blamed the absence of a House-approved terms of reference for the PAC and the fact that the prime minister has publicly called the PAC “functionless”.

In 2015, then Speaker of the House Dr. Kendal Major directed the PAC to “stay its hand” in relation to any investigation surrounding the auditor general’s report into the Urban Renewal Programme. That report raised serious issues with the handling of public funds in the program.

Following the ruling, then PAC Chairman Hubert Chipman said the committee in effect had been “castrated”.

Davis has expressed concern with the government’s responsiveness to the PAC.

Regarding Major’s ruling, Davis told The Nassau Guardian in January, “I think that the ruling is being misinterpreted and that is being used to justify their lack of cooperation with the PAC.”

Davis said the PAC intends “to seek the Parliament’s view on that ruling and have it put in its proper perspective” as soon as possible.

NSA audit

The NSA audit revealed that “Company A” entered into an agreement with the authority in May 2015 for a three-year period ending in August 2018 “at a fixed fee of $40,000 per month and payable in quarterly installments”.

“We noted that the NSA board made recommendation to cancel the company’s service contract in a letter dated May 22, 2017,” the auditor general wrote.

“However, the company at this point had already received a total of $1,191,579.91 for services that were never performed.”

The report noted that the company had 10 deliverables, none of which were completed.

But former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Danny Johnson accused auditors of performing their jobs poorly.

“If Mr. Bastian feels that there are things that are untoward, then I think that’s fine, and we can answer those questions, but I could defend whatever the hell that is,” Johnson said.

He added, “Every penny can be accounted for.”

He continued, “…Don’t put no nonsense out to the public. You think Danny Johnson might have thief some money? Man, kiss my ass.

“I could make my own money.”

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said he forwarded the auditor general’s report on the NSA to the commissioner of police.

The commissioner said the report is now with investigators in the Anti-Corruption Unit.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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