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Mystery continues to surround status of Govt’s top accountant

The new Government has followed the previous administration in being tight-lipped as to whether its top accountant remains on administrative leave.

On December 10 — a week before the general election — the then Opposition One Bermuda Alliance said it was frustrated by the lack of answers surrounding the absence of Accountant General Joyce Hayward.

She was placed on administrative leave two weeks before the election, and Assistant Accountant General David King was also reported to be out of the office, having taken personal and educational leave.

The events caused OBA finance spokesman Bob Richards who is now Minister of Finance — to ask: “Who is minding the till?”

Andrew Simons — the Opposition candidate for Pembroke Central — said he was “frustrated” by the lack of answers from the then Finance Minister, Premier Paula Cox.

“When it comes to the Accountant General being placed on administrative leave, followed swiftly by her assistant, people should be paying attention. They should be asking ‘What on earth is going on with our money?’” he said at the time.

The Government at the time would not comment beyond saying there would be no disruption to service.

The Royal Gazette understands that both Ms Hayward and Mr King remain on leave. We sent questions to Mr Richards this weekend, inquiring about the issue.

In reply, a Ministry of Finance spokeswoman said: “The Minister of Finance is currently overseas on vacation. However, to address your query regarding the Accountant General, the media is advised once again that this is an internal administrative matter. As previously stated, there has not been a disruption to service.

“Additionally, for the public’s general information, it should be noted that when any senior Government post is vacant for any reason, arrangements are made for cover of the core duties and responsibilities of the post. The Accountant General’s Department has several qualified accountants to ensure the department is run effectively.

“Also for the general public’s interest it should be noted that the Government has long concluded the implementation of a government accounting infrastructure that involved placing qualified accountants throughout Government at the departmental or Ministry level, to ensure all accounting needs are met.”

Ms Hayward could not be reached for comment.

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Published December 31, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 30, 2012 at 10:48 pm)

Mystery continues to surround status of Govt’s top accountant

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