2021 Auditor General Report Hits ‘Bestseller’ List, Again

Auditor General, Leigh Trotman

The 2021 Auditor General Report is in and guaranteed to be another best seller. As usual Auditor General Mr. Leigh Trotman and team outlined a number of incomplete and questionable transaction done by our public servants.

What Barbadians can be guaranteed arising from the 2021 Auditor General Report is that the 2022 report will be more of the same. Although former Opposition Leader Bishop Joe Atherley has voiced concerns about a moribund Public Service Committee (PAC) during the current dispensation with no elected opposition in the Lower House – the question for the good Bishop is tell when has the workings of the PAC ever made a difference? Mind you the blogmaster is not disputing the fact the PAC is designed to be an important working committee in our system of governance.

Since taking the post of Auditor General in 2006, I have requested the filling

of a number of vacancies, and a few additional staff have been supplied. However, the

rate of loss of staff due to retirement, transfers or resignations has far outweighed the

number added. This has resulted in a chronic shortage of manpower, especially at the management level, and results in Executive Management having to take on additional

responsibilities, such as leading audit teams, which is not the best use of this resource.

2021 Auditor General Report

To be honest the blogmaster stopped reading after the Auditor General’s introductory comment on pages 9 and 10. What is the point of reading the same old same old that continues under BLP and DLP governments? There was high expectation given to the public by Minister Ryan Straughn in the finance ministry when the 2019 Public Finance Management Act was passed in parliament. To date state owned entities (SOEs) have largely ignored a key requirement of the ACT which is to present timely financials. We wonder why apathy, cynicism and significant disengagement by citizens continues to grow. Can we seriously describe what we practice as a relevant democratic system of government?

How can a people have confidence in any government of Barbados- including the BLP incumbent with its unprecedented 30-0 mandate- if it is unable to demonstrate an adequate financial management standard of public monies? The NIS fund and Clearwater comes to mind.

Why does the Auditor General have to repeat year after year, whether B or D government, that he does not have adequate resources to efficiently give account how public monies are spent? Instead the BLP administration had no problem establishing a Public Affairs Unit which many believe duplicates the functions of the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS). We know why ‘dont’ we?

#tired #NTSH

254 thoughts on “2021 Auditor General Report Hits ‘Bestseller’ List, Again

  1. The Auditor General mentioned instances where pensions were prepared and payments approved by the same individuals.
    If the cheques are electronically pre-signed, then, those persons could also print cheques as well.

    That process clearly contravenes internal control procedures for cash disbursements, such as segregation of duties and processing and authorisating disbursements.
    Also, theft is usually facilitated by collaboration. There may a situation, for example, where the individual who processed and authorised payments and print cheques, may collaborate with the person who is responsible for reconciling the bank accounts.
    Those financial inefficiencies are usually discovered by an independent third-party.

    Due diligence is simply another term for audit, review, analysis, verification, investigation etc…….. functions that are essentially undertaken during an audit.

    Obviously there will a need to ‘purge the voters’ list’ from time to time.
    But, where is the evidence to suggest that “many, many deceased people on the voters” list were receiving pensions?
    Unless we’re to believe the only people who die are those of pensionable age.

  2. Artax,

    Whatever happened to the case of the young woman who was responsible for preparing cheques and who then volunteered to help a co-worker with the bank reconciliations?

    She was said to have made off with over $800,000 of NIS funds, if I remember correctly.

    When the basics internal controls measures are being ignored it should be down to those in charge.

    You cannot be at the beginning and the end of a process, essentially checking your own work.

    That allows for a person to cover his/her tracks for too long of a period.

    • @Artax

      Who are responsible for disciplining public servants if it continues repeatedly as highlighted by auditor general reports.

  3. Due diligence is simply another term for audit, review, analysis, verification, investigation etc…….. functions that are essentially undertaken during an audit.
    Due diligence is the DIRECT responsibility of senior management, and with regard to POLICY, of the Board of directors.
    The role of auditors is really just to conduct some random checks and to review the control SYSTEMS that are in place.

    NO AUDITOR can properly provide full assurance of the integrity of a system. THAT IS a full time MANAGEMENT role.

    Since we don’t EVER hold senior managers to account, (and in fact, since they get PROMOTED and HONOURED radically when they FOUL UP) we will ALWAYS continue to see the THIEVING of state funds by the usual suspects. who then move UP the ladder to bigger thieving….

    The poor Auditor General is doing as much as can be expected in the circumstances.
    Expecting him to do the work of the dishonest .incompetent MANAGERS and the tainted politicians/Boards is just ignorant wishful thinking of brass bowls.

    No damn wonder we are poorer and poorer….

    Shri Lanka, Barbados is with you….

  4. Donna

    I remember a lady, her husband and a friend collaborating to steal funds from the NIS.

    Is that the case you meant?

  5. RE: “Due diligence is the DIRECT responsibility of senior management, and with regard to POLICY, of the Board of directors.”

    Who ‘said’ it WASN’T?

    RE: “The role of auditors is really just to conduct some random checks and to review the control SYSTEMS that are in place.”

    Not ENTIRELY true.

    RE: “NO AUDITOR can properly provide full assurance of the integrity of a system. THAT IS a full time MANAGEMENT role.”

    Who ‘said’ OTHERWISE?

    RE: “The poor Auditor General is doing as much as can be expected in the circumstances.”

    The Auditor General is doing EXACTLY what is EXPECTED of him.
    And, that is preparing a report based on the results of audits CONDUCTED by AUDITORS in his department.
    You guys give the impression Mr. Trotman is a ‘Lone Ranger’ who goes around auditing the financial statements of all Government owned entities and preparing an annual report.
    Not once does anyone give CONSIDERATION to the supporting AUDITORS who diligently perform their functions, under circumstances where the Office is ‘short of staff.’

    What I find on BU is that some persons fail to ‘historically contextualize’ a discussion. In other words, they don’t follow and understand a particular discussion from its beginning and place comments within their particular context.
    Something that is taught in English Literature.

  6. The only lesson to be learnt here is that under both administrations, the Auditor General’ s report seems to have been relegated to nothing but hot air.
    However we cut it , slice it and dice it, nothing of any major significance seems to be done to meticulously hold people accountable.
    This nonsense has been going for donkey years .
    Hopefully , we will one day wake up to an Auditor General’s report that drives fear in all those who are incompetent and the foolishness will then come to an end.
    Until then………………………….

  7. William Skinner July 15, 2022 10:08 AM #: “The only lesson to be learnt here is that under both administrations, the Auditor General’ s report seems to have been relegated to nothing but hot air.”

    Mr. Skinner

    You seem to have forgotten about a non-functioning Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under successive BLP and DLP administrations.
    The anomaly of the PAC is that when an administration loses the general elections, the former PM or the political party’s president, becomes Opposition Leader…… who becomes Chairman of the PAC.
    So, a situation is essentially created whereby the Chairman is asked to investigate allegations of financial improprieties that OCCURRED under his/her administration.

    The entire public accounting system is in ‘shambles.’
    Adhering to financial rules and regulations is blatantly disregarded.

    “To meticulously hold people accountable,” especially in statutory corporations, is often hindered by the ‘popular phrase,’ “De Minister send me here, so you can’t do me nuffin.”

    I know of a situation at a certain SOE, where an individual who was not an authorized ‘travel officer,’ submitted a travel claim for over $700.
    The Director rushed to sign the claim, to which the individual responded, “You better sign my claim before I kick you down de stairs.”
    After which he called the Minister, who was his personal mate, who instructed that the guy should be paid.

    Investigating criminal offences committed at SOE’s is often obstructed by political interference or intervention, whichever word is appropriate……. and even moreso if the perpetrators are political operatives.

    According to Bush Tea’s accurate assessment, people in management positions are promoted on the basis of incompetence.

  8. Artax,

    I don’t think the husband was involved in this case. He is reported to have said that she told him she had won a lottery overseas while on holiday.

    The woman is said to have volunteered to help her co-worker with the reconciliations. The co-worker was not charged for her stupidity/laziness.

    By the way, aren’t internal audits also recommended to be carried out to test systems on a regular basis? Some places have an internal auditor.

  9. Oh rasclot! I didn’t even think of that! The time lag of reporting would mean that transactions under one’s own administration would be often left to be investigated by one’s self.

    “What a ting, nuh!”

  10. Donna

    I cannot remember that specific case at this time. I may need a bit more information to ‘jog my memory.’

    Getting old, the memory is going.

  11. @ Theo

    Now skipper dont let me and come wrong! I dont mind you looking for a pick at the NCC, but let me tell you now dont let me catch you sniffing round the cashier job at BRA cause I done got that one block for me! Even went Saturday and buy a nice back pack in Swan Street to tek wuk.

    Now how many years it is that the LIFELINE OF BAJANS (dat is the NIS for wunna that aint know) have not file a return? In my view that is the one that want filing first! Not just filing either but publishing for we all to see. I for one curious to see the receivables and the aging on them. Also would love to see the decalred real estate holdings and the annual rental return on dem. Of course that is only my wishfull thinking. LOL

  12. David

    I believe it is Personnel Administration.

    But, I ‘speak’ under correction.

    I know Police has its own disciplinary committee.
    Officers are suspended for misconduct, pending the results of an investigation.
    Suspected ‘bent’ police officers are always under scrutiny.

  13. NMTSH
    Shelf life expired.
    All that will be done (nothing) was done.
    Of over $3M ‘over paid’ some was recovered. ‘Some’ was not quantified. One person wanted to know if some was 87 cents

    Waiting for the 2022 AG report.
    A next best seller

  14. @ Artax
    Why would I forget the PAC ? That’s just another failure, as you said, under both parties. I thought we were looking at the Auditor General.
    However, I can state that Rev. Atherley as Chairman of the PAC, was doing his job.
    How successful he was is another thing all together.

  15. Fell off a truck…

    Dear Sir,
    Only bad news, but I am hoping that you can give me some good news.

    After departing this dear earth, I found myself in an extremely hot place. You would be surprised at some of the Barbados big boys who are here with me. Lots of small fishes too.

    Well, I thought that death would be end of all expenses, but nothing is free here in hell and, surprisingly, expenses increase every year. The challenge is trying to figure out what the devil 8 will do with the money collected.

    I am hoping that you can increase my old age pension so as to reflect the increases occuring here in hell. That would be good news.
    Looking forward to seeing you (soon, I hope)
    A dead Bajan

  16. Mr. Skinner

    The PAC is supposed to act on information received from the Auditor General’s Reports.

    That is why I included it in the the ‘discussion.’

  17. are promoted on the basis of incompetence….
    Nah. Based on doing what their elected bosses want. And not seeing anything but 🤩🤩 in fellow employees.
    Shite man dey have to mek a living too. They must keep up with inflation and it isn’t coming salary increases.

  18. This is where DUE DILIGENCE comes in for departments that issue payments…

    they should be ASHAMED to say that there is a death registER that no one pays attention to….there is administrative staff in every department so why are they not at least WEEKLY perusing the death register to match with those who receive pensions…etc.

    ““One of the things that I did indicate, especially to the Treasury and to the NIS, was not alerting me as to the fact that the Death Register was not available for the past three years,” he said.

    We agree that as the Minister, he should be informed. But to average onlookers, this appears to be a rudimentary part of the workflow of the NIS and the Treasury, to which a supervisor or head of department should address.”

  19. Theo…am thinking they are lying here, that death register had to have been IGNORED for OVER 10 YEARS….they saw the names but someone was not letting go that scam…

    what 3 years what….or this would have been discovered much earlier…

    these are professional liars…

  20. Next problem solved.

    Get two or three UWI students. Give them summer work to go though the newspapers and other sources so as to make a list of deaths for say the past four or five years.

    A next student with programming skills to merge this list with the payment list and to flag ‘dead’ that still getting money

    Third simple solution. Coat the government 4 months of salary for three guys. Millions saved and still nobody says “Gi TheO a likkle pick”

  21. Now that the WORLD knows how INCOMPETENT in doing the people’s BUSINESS as EMPLOYEES and competently TIEFING they all are…..the people/electorate should stay MILES AWAY from ALL OF THEM…

    not one of them can be believed, liars and FRAUDS…from top to bottom.

  22. The AG has been producing reports for donkey years. At each report we get excited, act as if it is something new, suggest solutions for the many problems that were identified and then fall into silence.

    We will go through this exercise again.

  23. Pingback: Honouring Laws in the Breach | Barbados Underground

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