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4-year gap to form Audit Advisory Committee raises questions

4-year gap to form Audit Advisory Committee raises questions

No plausible explanation has been produced for a mysterious four-year gap in the formation of an Internal Audit Advisory Committee (IAAC) in the territory.

The government’s Internal Auditor had raised the issue of an absent IAAC when she appeared before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) recently. She said her department is required to report to an IAAC but none has been in place since December 2016.

The gaps, which span two governing administrations, were finally resolved just last month when three new members were appointed to the five-member committee.

The other two members of the committee are usually the Financial Secretary or a Deputy, and the Internal Auditor.

When called to give evidence before the COI this week, Financial Secretary, Jeremiah Frett said he had no excuse or explanation for why this was not previously done.

I could have been more assertive

The COI had heard evidence that the Internal Auditor reportedly raised the need for the committee with Frett sometime in February 2021.

During his appearance, Frett conceded to the COI that he could have possibly been more assertive in his role as the Deputy Financial Secretary during the time the IAAC was missing. However, he described the situation as being in the past, adding that the team has moved on.

“I have no excuse … as Financial Secretary, in not having all the lawful bodies in place, especially when they come to good governance and value for money,” Frett told the Commission.

He then assured that he would seek to ensure that all the mechanisms are in place to achieve those things going forward.

Previously, Neil Smith served as the Financial Secretary for the majority of the two terms (eight years from 2011 – 2020) of the National Democratic Party. His successor was Glenroy Forbes who was recalled to the post in late 2017 after serving in the same position twice before in earlier administrations.


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