AG Mon­roe El­lis says no to lo­cal gov­ern­ment meet­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Paul Clarke/Gleaner Writer [email protected]­

THE HOPE of a meet­ing be­tween rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment and Au­di­tor Gen­eral Pamela Mon­roe El­lis, which was set for to­day to dis­cuss con­cerns they have with the re­port that was tabled in Par­lia­ment re­cently, has hit a snag.

In­stead, Mon­roe El­lis said that her de­part­ment will be writ­ing to the lo­cal gov­ern­ment min­istry, urg­ing it to put any con­cerns it has in writ­ing as it re­lates to an au­dit on the rental of fa­cil­i­ties at Ha­gley Park Road in Kingston, as she was not will­ing to meet with min­istry of­fi­cials.

Mon­roe El­lis told The Gleaner that her de­part­ment would not be meet­ing with of­fi­cials from the min­istry to­day as stated by the min­istry.

She said there was a mis­un­der­stand­ing about the pur­pose of the meet­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the au­di­tor gen­eral, a fi­nal draft re­port was sub­mit­ted to the min­istry giv­ing it an op­por­tu­nity to re­spond to any con­cerns in the au­dit.

How­ever, she said that on De­cem­ber 10, the min­istry is­sued a re­sponse to the au­dit, which was taken into con­sid­er­a­tion when the fi­nal re­port was pre­pared for tabling in Par­lia­ment.


“The au­dit was not done overnight,” Mon­roe El­lis said, in­di­cat­ing that the min­istry had suf­fi­cient time to raise con­cerns and chal­lenge its find­ings.

In a re­lease to the me­dia, the min­istry pointed to what it said are in­ac­cu­ra­cies in some state­ments in the draft au­di­tor gen­eral re­port, which was sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment two weeks ago.

The min­istry was taken to task over the re­port, which out­lined a $30-mil­lion cost over­run in re­la­tion to tardy ren­o­va­tion work on the min­istry’s rented premises on Ha­gley Park Road.

“The min­istry is there­fore sur­prised and con­cerned that a re­port would have been tabled in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives prior to these is­sues be­ing re­solved,” said a state­ment from the min­istry’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pub­lic re­la­tions de­part­ment.

It noted the min­istry’s “com­mit­ment to the high­est stan­dards of ac­count­abil­ity and pro­bity in the ex­pen­di­ture of pub­lic funds.

“Where gen­uine er­rors or in­ad­e­qua­cies are pointed out by com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties, the min­istry is also com­mit­ted to im­me­di­ate cor­rec­tion and im­prove­ments”.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­lease, the pub­lic should note that it is also the case that there has been a process of con­sis­tent di­a­logue with the Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s De­part­ment dur­ing the course of its in­ves­ti­ga­tions, and a num­ber of the state­ments in the draft re­port as­serted as fact are dis­puted and con­sid­ered in­ac­cu­rate by the min­istry.

The state­ment fur­ther said that the min­istry had com­mu­ni­cated its con­cerns in this re­gard to the team as­signed by the Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s De­part­ment.

Au­di­tor Gen­eral Pamela Mon­roe El­lis.

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