August 13, 2010
Director of Audit expects answers from Permanent Secretary

The Director of Audit wants Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and the Environment, Lanceford Weekes, to explain why money allocated to the Cuban Integrated Health Programme (CIHP) was used for purposes not approved by Parliament.{{more}}

Weekes also has to explain the involvement of the state-owned International Airport Development Company (IADC) in the CIHP and why money paid for the rental of apartments was not repaid to the company.

The demands were part of a ten-point course of action Weekes is to take after an unflattering review of the CIHP by the Director of Audit.

A special audit of the CIHP found that Weekes had delegated management of the CIHP, which was plagued by misappropriation of funds, wastage, and lack of internal control, to the Executive Officer.

Weekes is also to account for computer items which were imported under the Ministry’s concession, but were not charged to the CIHP account, neither were accounted for by the Ministry.

The report said these items might have been imported for personal use.

The Permanent Secretary is to implement a system for the proper supervision and monitoring of all items imported under the Ministry’s concession, account for items purchased locally, but were not produced for inspection, and recover the money spent on fast food.

Weekes is to also account for and recover $2,200 paid out for upholstery of a government vehicle on which no work was done and say why 12 tyres were bought within one year for a vehicle.

The Director of Audit also said Weekes should comply with the Central Tenders Board policy for the continuance of rental of premises and ensure that the correct documents are prepared to protect both the government and landlords.

“From the results of the audit, the MOHE (Ministry of Health and the Environment) has a great opportunity to strengthen its institutional performance,” the report said.

The Director of Audit suggested that management of the CIHP should be fully supervised by the Assistant Secretary, who is also responsible for the Ministry’s Accounting Unit.

The report further said the Senior Assistant Secretary should be involved in the execution of the programme.

“This will facilitate segregation of duties and provide for proper monitoring and accountability of scarce resources,” the report said.

The report further said Weekes should consider the key functions of segregation of duties: namely authorisation, custody and recording when duties are assigned to officers. (KXC)