By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
PERMANENT Secretary Jack Thompson was tightlipped yesterday over Auditor General Terrance Bastian’s probe into the Antiquities Monuments & Museums Corporation.
Mr Bastian confirmed to The Tribune that he had turned over his findings to Mr Thompson; however, he stressed it was not a full audit.
The Tribune understands the order for an independent audit of the AMMC came from Cabinet after it was discovered the AMMC received a double subvention of $206,000 that was not returned to the Public Treasury as is required by law.
The revelation was outlined in a letter sent to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis by Centreville MP Reece Chipman over the weekend, in which he refused to resign his post. Mr Chipman was fired on Saturday.
Yesterday, Mr Bastian did not reveal the nature of his findings, and referred this newspaper to Mr Thompson, whom he said had carriage of the matter.
Mr Thompson declined comment on the matter, telling The Tribune yesterday he did not want to “get involved”. He advised the information would be released through the “proper channels”, underscoring audit information was typically tabled in Parliament.
The House of Assembly resumes on April 11.
Mr Chipman’s firing – which comes a mere ten months into the Minnis administration’s term in office – is allegedly related to his handling of the AAMC, The Tribune was told.
On Friday, Dr Minnis gave the first time MP until noon Saturday to resign.
In his letter, Mr Chipman told the prime minister and parliamentary colleagues that he would only resign if Mr Thompson and several other high-ranking government employees at the AMMC also submitted resignations.
Mr Chipman further claimed the AMMC was operating outside of the law and also suggested the government was following the status quo of the previous Christie administration.
Yesterday, an AMMC board member who spoke on the condition of anonymity, defended Mr Chipman’s character. The board member said Mr Chipman had always conducted himself in an “above board” manner, and suggested the matter was highly political in nature. However, the board member would not go into further details for fear of reprisal.