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No documentation for expenses at Ministries

NEWS GRAPHIC 3An April Auditor General’s report on Trinidad and Tobago’s public accounts for Government’s financial year 2013 which spans October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013, has left this country’s Finance Minister giving the assurance that the financial reporting within each ministry will be improved.

On the heels of the report which noted that several government ministries, including the Finance Ministry lack documentation to justify multi-million-dollar expenses, among other similar issues, Minister Larry Howai said he is concerned by the report. He said an exercise was started toward the end of 2013, in a bid to improve the situation.

According to the report there is a lack of accountability when it comes to the hiring of contracted workers by the state and there are concerns relative to overpayments by ministries. It was also noted that there is a lack of proper accounting management by officers in charge of protecting the public purse.

The Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are noted as the worst offenders, within the report. Minister Howai has noted that while the Finance Ministry does not have oversight over ministries, he has met with all permanent secretaries to emphasise to them the importance of their role, as the chief accounting officers of their respective ministries, in ensuring compliance with proper accounting procedures.