Forensic audit on finance ‘complete’

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

AN American firm’s forensic audit of the Ministry of Finance is complete, The Tribune understands.

It’s not clear when the audit report by FTI Consulting Global will be released to the public.

In March, Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson told The Nassau Guardian the audit flowed from matters brought to the government’s attention that merited further review. 

“I don’t want to get into the details of the specifics of which (administration the audit is focused on), it’s suffice to say that there have been some transactions that upon deep diving review the government determined merited a further review and that audit is ongoing,” he said at the time. Yesterday he said the audit report is being finalised to his knowledge. 

Among the matters the audit will be expected to shed light are mysteries surrounding the Gladstone Road Waste Water Treatment Plant which were raised in a previous audit of the Water & Sewerage Corporation.

EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, chronicled how that project remained unfinished despite a 91 percent cost overrun. The firm revealed two unusual payments were ordered for Nassau Island Development over the objections of senior WSC officials. It is not known who approved the payments.

In March, Mr Johnson told The Tribune that the matter was among those under investigation. 

Cabinet announced in March 2017 that forensic audits would be conducted into the Urban Renewal programme, the Bank of the Bahamas and the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute. This year, however, press secretary Anthony Newbold admitted the administration’s “verbiage” about this may have been off.

“I don’t know if they will be forensic but there certainly will be audits,” he said.

Forensic audits have been performed into Bahamas Power & Light and the WSC so far. BAMSI is being forensically audited by Pannel, Kerr & Forester International.

The government has been slow to reveal the cost of the audits. BPL Chairwoman Darnell Osbourne revealed that institution’s audit cost $300k. The cost of the WSC audit remains unknown.

Tennyson Wells, chairman of BAMSI’s board, said yesterday his institution has budgeted $80,000 to $100,000 for their forensic audit.

Pannel, Kerr & Foster International began the audit in May. Mr Wells said they initially indicated the audit would take eight to twelve weeks to complete but recently indicated it will take a bit longer.