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The public needs to have the truth

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Dear Sir,

It is understandable that The Royal Gazette in its editorial page of November 28 does not share the inference that “a section of today's politicians and public servants are criminals”.

But the brutal fact is that millions, probably hundreds of millions of dollars, of taxpayers' money mysteriously disappeared in what appears to be a reasonably clear-cut case of incompetence, waste and possible malappropriation of funds.

All of this is clearly set forth in the Auditor-General's report, and the public has a right to demand an explanation.

If someone was running a bank and a few million bucks were missing at the end of the month, there would be a reasonable expectation by shareholders and depositors that something should be done about it.

Why are public funds any different?

Until a few years ago the public, including myself, assumed that competent people were in charge of government funds. The report of the Auditor-General undermines that assumption — big time.

How naive and innocent we were. Also betrayed were the vast majority of competent public servants who unfairly will be tarred with the same brush.

It seems to me that, at the very least, the Governor should appoint an independent review body of impartial international forensic auditors to determine answers without delay to the following questions:

1, Who knew about the wrongfully applied funds?

2, When did they know it?

3, What did they do about it, and when?

4, Who benefited?

5, Were there any internal documents — e-mails, memorandums, minutes of meetings, telephone calls, etc — from staff drawing attention to the financial inefficiencies identified by the Auditor-General? If not, why not?

Until the appointment and report from an impartial and independent body, taxpayers have a right, reasonably, to conclude that something went seriously wrong with government financial administration.

The Auditor-General's reports clearly demonstrate that there were serious defects and we need to have the truth out in the public domain.

I am pleased to note that Quinton Edness and John Barritt, both former members of the House of Assembly, support that idea.

ROBERT STEWART

Seeking answers: the Auditor-General, Heather Jacobs Matthews, has highlighted a number of “serious defects”, a reader writes, and an independent review is needed
Financial report: from the Auditor-General, Heather Jacobs Matthews

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Published December 08, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 07, 2015 at 11:04 pm)

The public needs to have the truth

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