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Minnis Hits Out At $47m Losses From Road Traffic

FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis.

FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis has questioned the government’s lack of oversight and leadership at the Road Traffic Department in the aftermath of the auditor general’s scathing report over the department’s operations.

The report revealed millions of dollars in losses due to “collusion” and “fraud” among other things.

Dr Minnis criticised the Christie administration yesterday saying in its four years in office, a culture of “lawlessness” and “corruption” has crept into every level of government. This he said leaves the government with an unbelievable amount of “mismanagement, incompetence and ineptitude.”

Meanwhile, former acting FNM Chairman Brensil Rolle castigated Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin for attempting to place blame for the department’s chronic problems on a previous Ingraham administration.

Mr Rolle, who also formerly served as Road Traffic Department controller, said the minister should take responsibility for the problems facing the department.

On Monday, Auditor General Terrance Bastian’s report was tabled in the House of Assembly.

It said that if a forecast was performed based on the total number of licence plates produced and issued, approximately 374,000 plates, to the public as of June 30, 2015, one would estimate that the motor vehicle licence revenue should be at a minimum of $73m (374,000 x $195) instead of the reported average of $26m per annum.

If the approximate number of 374,000 plates was reduced by 50 per cent, the report said there would still be an estimated loss of $10m as compared to the actual recorded revenue noted herein.

The audit of the department covered the period July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2015.

“As the Progressive Liberal Party continues to celebrate its four years in office,” Dr Minnis said in a press statement, “we learn that in four short years under the PLP government more than $10 million of the people’s money is gone. Wasted through stunning endemic mismanagement that this government either chooses to ignore or fails to address.

“The auditor general’s report found systemic problems that went on for years at the Road Traffic Department – inconsistencies in payroll, fraudulent licenses being issued, missing and illegible inspection certifications, missing and fraudulent insurance certificates and customers receipts not being generated.

“All of these problems at one government agency? All of these problems without anyone noticing? Where is the oversight and leadership from this government?”

He continued: “The PLP celebrates as our Bahamas crumbles to the ground around us. In their four years in power they have fostered and grown a culture of lawlessness and corruption that has crept into every level and corner of government, leaving us with an unbelievable amount of mismanagement, incompetence and ineptitude. When will it end?”

“Unfortunately, this has become commonplace to the Bahamian people. Their money continues to be misspent or misused as they struggle to get by on the empty rhetoric and broken promises from this government. The PLP leadership at the top has set a dubious example for all levels of their government – incompetence is tolerable to this government as long as its supporters can enrich themselves.”

Dr Minnis said real leadership means taking concrete steps to fix such problems. He said this would start with holding the management at Road Traffic accountable.

“Have the Attorney General’s Office prosecute the ones involved in the wanton mismanagement of taxpayer dollars and discipline those who had responsibility for the oversight of the Bahamian people’s money.

“Next, we must change the procedures at the department to ensure proper oversight and internal accountability in its procedures – no more absurdly overpaying employees by hundreds of thousands of dollars, or under paying others; receipts should be required for all transactions at all departmental offices; and having the new department leadership ultimately instilling a culture of law and order – following the rules and being accountable to the taxpayers,” Dr Minnis said.

Meanwhile, Mr Rolle said at no time under the previous FNM government was there any indication that the department was losing large sums of money.

“The minister shifts blame on the FNM and the Ingraham administration. What she did not say though was that it was the Ingraham government that started to engage the process of the electronic accountability when we introduced the (new) driver’s licence (system).

“The entire driver’s licence system is done electronically. Certainly during my time at Road Traffic. It was done electronically and every transaction was recorded by the Treasury Department and the Ministry of Finance,” Mr Rolle said.

Comments

Economist 4 years, 6 months ago

You want to be Prime Minister, then act like one.

Say that you can see that this is something that the government does not know how to deal with.

Say that we are all Bahamians and are all hurt by this.

Say that the Opposition has the answer and, in the best interests of the country. this is how government can fix the problem.

Act like a leader or resign.

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 6 months ago

$47 million is really the tip of the iceberg at RTD ....... waiting to hear from the Auditor General concerning the "Big Four" in Cabinet ................Education, Health, Public Works and National Security ...... If $47 million is going missing in a tiny Ministry like Transport & Aviation, can you imagine what is going missing in the "Big Four"??????????

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Alex_Charles 4 years, 6 months ago

Sigh...

This is depressing, we have a complete failure of a government and the main opposition is essentially pathetic, unorganized and still at civil war. The DNA are just carbon copies of the FNM.

This isn't the only leak of public funds, actually with how much we lose to corruption alone we probably wouldn't even have a budget deficit...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 6 months ago

True to form, Minnis is "all talk" and "no do" on every "topic du jour". When it comes to what little is now left of the FNM party, Minnis is the entire problem, period! Most Bahamian voters know Minnis is the devil incarnate, or as one former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives recently said: "Lucifer in the flesh!" No one in their right mind would ever vote for Minnis or any other FNM candidate as long as Minnis remains in any way involved with the leadership of the FNM party, a party he has personally made irrelevant and near extinct. Bahamians voters can only hope a reputable independent candidate of good character, with no allegiance whatsoever to the PLP, FNM or DNA, decides to run in their constituency in the next general election. Now more than ever is the time for decent, hard working, honest Bahamians who are fed up with the corruption and incompetence of the PLP, FNM and DNA, to step into the arena of politics in our country to serve (for the benefit of) their fellow Bahamians.

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