Senate Select Committee Questions Auditor General

By
Updated: November 9, 2016

The first public hearing to examine the findings of the Auditor General’s reports on Passport, Immigration and Nationality Departments began today. The Senate Select Committee had the participation of the agreed six members including Business Senator, Mark Lizarraga, Union Senator, Elena Smith and PUP Senator, Eamon Courtenay.  Today’s short session included only one witness and that was the Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley.  Our news team was in Belmopan today and Hipolito Novelo reports.

HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING

“The preliminary hearing lasted not more than two hours and the first witness to be questioned by the Senate Select Committee was the author of the reports, the Auditor General herself, Dorothy Bradley.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“You were requested to prepare special audit of the immigration department.”

DOROTHY BRADLEY

“That is not correct.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“How is it that you arrived at preparing a report?”

DOROTHY BRADLEY

“During the course of my daily duties I came across a memo from the Ministry of Labor and Local Government, Rural National and National Emergency Management and Immigration and Nationality dated September 30th where it made reference to some missing visas within that department.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“And that caused you to proceed to investigate that matter?”

DOROTHY BRADLEY

“Yes.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“What happened in the course of that investigation.”

DOROTHY BRADLEY

“What happened was once I found that and I decided that I wanted to do an audit on Visas a team was established and they were assigned to take on the audit of the missing visas. Once we started that audit we had encountered, it was a public discussion in essence where there was a case of Mr.Kim with a passport…”

ALDO SALAZAR

“Case of who?”

DOROTHY BRADLEY

“Wong Hong Kim”

ALDO SALAZAR

“In the course of…”

DOROTHY BRADLEY

“In the course of executing that initial audit which was to cover the missing visas we then learnt of the case with the passport and so we simply broadened our scope and included that part of it.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“Included what part of it?”

DOROTHY BRADLEY

“Included the case of the missing passport of Wong Hong Kim.”

 

HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING

“Bradley was accompanied Senior Counsel Derek Courtenay and Attorney Phillip Palacio. After the abbreviated session Bradley spoke to the media.”

DOROTHY BRADLEY

“My intent is to produce and say exactly what happened and I have absolutely no problems with that so it went very well. My audit will simply outline what we have found and those findings will be in relation to the regulations. If you are not complying with the regulations we will bring that to the forefront. We will state what we find, we do not find people guilty that is for the law and we are not so we simply do an audit examining records and we do our findings. Our audit is simply auditing the immigration department and what we have found contradicts some of what the regulation is saying. By extension those names are simply findings so I don’t have any explanation as to or ease of or what it is these people really expect but the truth is that I am simply putting what I find.”

 

HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING

According to PUP Senator Eamon Courtenay, what Bradley has found will be examined more extensively during the next hearing.

EAMON COURTENAY

“Well I think the auditor general’s report is quite comprehensive. We need for her to clarify on the record the procedure that she adopted, the way in which she reached her conclusions ,we need for her to indicate for us the evidence that she had, the evidence that she did not get and that is one of the issues that we will be taking up the fact that the senate will insist on getting those things and maybe having seen that she may want to change her report. We are at a very preliminary stage and I think the AG report and evidence is going to be very helpful in terms of the long term and what recommendations the committee will make.”

 

HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING

“Interestingly, what has been presented in the auditor general reports is only twenty five percent of the documents that Bradley had acquired.”

EAMON COURTENAY

“We may have a little bit more than the tip of the ice berg but there is an ice berg down there and the committee’s report and investigation will lead to wherever it leads but I don’t want to speculate on what’ there she will be there , we will ask her the questions and what she meant by that. The information that was not provided to the auditor general must be provided to the committee if we continue to get some type of frustration and stonewalling by government operatives then we will know what next step we will take. At this point in time as far as I am concerned I have an open mind, I expect that there will be cooperation, I expect that people will come and attend and answer the questions but let’s see.”

 

HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING

“And while today we saw Bradley as the first witness, she will not be the last. The Committee has the power to call upon all whose name appears in the reports, including Government Ministers and Area Representatives.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“The point of the inquiry is not to ask Ministers what they did and why they did it, the point of the inquiry is to look at the entire report and to assess what may have gone wrong in the Ministry and department and whoever needs to be interviewed whether its’ a minister or CEO or individual we will get to that point. Right now we are in the very preliminary stage of the inquiry and I cannot say when any Minister will be interviewed or who will be first that is a decision that has to be made in committee.”

 

HIPOLITO NOVELO REPORTING

“Chairman of the Committee, UDP Senator Aldo Salazar, told the media that the committee has decided to hire an attorney for the next sessions.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“We want to move ahead as expeditiously as possible, we haven’t set a date for the next session as yet because we need to do certain things, we have decide to engage an attorney to assist with a procedure. We had some deliberations in relation to that so we were not able to set an exact date but we will engage the service of an attorney and after we’ve done so we will then set a date.”

 

Reporting for Love News, I am Hipolito Novelo.