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Straughan shifts blame for financial irregularities in Auditor General report

Adriel Richard

Straughan shifts blame for financial irregularities in Auditor General report
Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Ryan Straughn (FILE)

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Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, denied that the Mia Mottley administration was responsible for a number of irregularities outlined in the latest report to Parliament from the Auditor General.

Far from being irresponsible, Straughn said the current administration was working hard to fix several issues they discovered after coming into office three years ago and it was a work in progress.

“We have come to office, and we have tightened up on a number of areas related to public financial management,” he said in a defence of the administration on the Down to Brass Tacks radio talk show on VOB 92.9 FM on Monday.

“All of the activity indicated (in the report) that is of significant concern, all pre-dated this administration. However, we have been seeking to try to ensure that we can find a path that minimises the fall-out as it relates to taxpayers.”

“We meet – that is myself, the Director of Finance and the (Permanent Secretary) of Finance – with the Auditor General every year to review these findings, and with the implementation of the internal audit unit to ensure that the administrative side of these things can be better done.”

Auditor General Leigh Trotman said in the report, which covers the period from 2007 to 2019, that there were a number of areas of concern in Government’s accounting practices.

Trotman said the presentation of the information in the financial statements of the Government did not always have the necessary supporting schedules or information and this meant it was not possible to verify certain amounts in the financial statements.

He said there were errors identified that required adjustments and the Government had adopted the International Public Sector Accounting Standards, but some of these standards were not followed.

Straughn said one of the strategies that the administration hoped to pursue in the short term was to set up internal audit officers inside Government departments in an effort to remedy some of the issues highlighted in the Auditor General’s report. (AR)