July 24, 2012
Procedural irregularities at Ministry of Agriculture

While a financial audit being conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is not yet complete, a second investigation carried out by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has unearthed procedural irregularities which could lead to criminal charges against an employee of the Ministry of Agriculture.{{more}}

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the audit has found that over a period of about seven years, close to $250,000 worth of goods were procured in the name of Ministry of Agriculture, using irregular procedures.

The report on the findings has been forwarded by the Director General of Finance and Planning to the Chief Personnel Officer for possible disciplinary action to be taken in relation to the person responsible.

Additionally, according to our source, this report may also be forwarded to Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams, who will consider whether there is any basis for criminal charges to be brought.

Just under one month ago, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Nathaniel Williams informed SEARCHLIGHT that he was unaware of any monies missing from his ministry, which has been plagued by a number of high level financial discrepancies in the recent past.

Williams said, however, that an internal audit was being conducted, in which a close look was being taken at the ministry’s accounting system.

Williams told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that he was on leave and would address any questions regarding the audits when he returns, in about one week’s time.