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Auditor General Says the Government System is Broken

The Government System is broken; these are the words of Auditor General, Dorothy Bradley who has been serving in this capacity since 2011. In an appearance on The Morning Show today, Bradley explained this statement, saying that there are gaps and disconnects in the public service system. One of the disconnects had to do with who really is in charge of the activities in respective government departments and ministries. She further spoke on the challenges faced by her ministry in accessing information.

Dorothy Bradley, Auditor General: “Listen the system is so broken to pieces that when you go into the system and you look at an invoice you have not a clue what the description is saying; payment for a piece of land, reference, and that’s it it makes no sense at all. So you need the actual source and those sources can be all over the place. In the case of the treasury for example you notice that they rent and move and they’re all around, they don’t have any space to store documents so those are off site in places where they rent to store documents. So it is really really a challenge but it’s not a cry it’s just the truth that there’s a challenge. It’s not beating down anybody but you need to know the truth. And it comes back to what I keep saying that a part of the process has gone left another part of it because for example who should be held accountable ? The accountability rests with the accounting officer and the accounting officer in most instances would be the CEO. Except for under the Ministry of Finance I think those heads of departments they are account officers but you can understand why because it’s huge right ? But just let us use this as an example. The CEOs. These are bright set of people I wouldn’t question that however as it relates to the operations of the public service you can’t want to come in with a briefcase sit at your desk and wait on the financial advisor who are the finance officers and administrative officers to tell you what to do or to explain to you you need to know so that you can ask questions. The constitution also makes provision for me to make a submission in the form of a special report outside of the annual reports. So I use this is my discretion because as the Auditor General I have that power to do that. So for example we have completed over the last maybe year we have forty three reports that we’ve done. Those reports are not classified as special reports. Those are reports that went to management. So management has gotten those management reports and in essence -“

Troy Gabb, Host, The Morning Show: “Management meaning what ? The CEO’s ? 

Dorothy Bradley, Auditor General:  “The respecting accounting officers. Now it is their obligation to respond within a time frame. If they don’t respond within the time frame then a report will be made citing those and then make that special submission to the National Assembly so that the Public Accounts Committee and others because Honorable Espat is agitating for these hearings to go public so that people can understand exactly what is happening.”

Troy Gabb, Host, The Morning Show: What is the resistance to having it go public ? Is there a resistance or just a timing issue ?

Dorothy Bradley, Auditor General: “I did not sense in this last meeting that there was any resistance at all, I did not sense that.”

One of the ministries that the Auditor General’s office has found challenging is the Lands Department, several times dubbed as a hot bed of corruption. According to Dorothy Bradley, there were several attempts to do a report on the Lands Department.

Dorothy Bradley, Auditor General:  “We went in on different occasions quite frankly to do an audit. The first audit we did – well one was presented in 2009-10 and that was the last submitted audit report on lands. We made an attempt after that and during our process the system crashed, manual records weren’t readily available so we had challenges. And then more recent I think in 2016 we made an attempt again and what happened they used a system, the electronic system because they had that up but it wasn’t fully populated with the manual information and then we started using that information versus the manual we could not reconcile in a lot of instances. But let me tell you what really put a halt on that for me. When the draft was submitted it was incomplete -the draft report from the supervisor – it was incomplete. Now I had a discussion then at that time to explain to the NTUCB because I met with Mr.Mora , really nice person, and he came with his team and I said to him that these are the challenges we have at this time. When I got it I saw some names on the report, coincidental one of those persons called me to find out about a transaction at the treasury and I said but ‘this is a simple process.’ I finished answering his question and I said but hold up sine I have you on the line can you explain to me about a transaction you did with government regarding some land in Cayo and he said ‘Ms.Dorothy I am impressed but you’re all the way back there. This happened a long time ago.’ I said ‘And?’. He said ‘We settled that a long time ago.’ but that was in the report.

Troye Gabb, Host, The Morning Show: As a pending matter.

Dorothy Bradley, Auditor General:  “Yes. Just imagine my presenting you – and that was not the only issue but just imagine my presenting you with that and your name showed up, would you not defend that ? And then what credibility would it have on the report that I’m preparing ? You have to investigate properly.”