Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis will decide whether “damning” findings from an audit of the National Sports Authority should be turned over to the Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.
According to Press Secretary Clint Watson yesterday, Mr Davis was sent the report and will make a decision on the next steps.
Both of those reports we spoke to particularly the NSA and even the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture itself all of them have revealed some damning facts, just serious, very serious about it,” Mr Watson said when asked if the NSA probe’s findings would be turned over to Attorney General Ryan Pinder.
“Of course, what we have done is we’ve looked at these reports. They are now going to be submitted to the Prime Minister to review. He is going to have to review them and make a determination so we’ll wait to hear from him.
“He’s not reviewed them as yet; they have been sent to him. So, we wait for his review to determine the course of action on that, but yes, very serious allegations in those reports.”
Auditor General Terrance Bastian in an audit of the NSA for the period between July 1, 2018 to January 2021 said a contract was awarded without Cabinet approval among other problems.
He also found instances where cheques to contractors were collected by a senior official of the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture.
The Office of the Auditor General’s report, tabled in Parliament Monday, found poor maintenance practices at the agency, inadequate inventory controls and boards that were not able to carry out the functions of the authority, among other things.
“We were concerned about the following,” the report said. “(A) The micromanagement of the operational affairs of NSA. Section 8 of the Sports Authority Act, 2011 indicates that ‘the minister may give to the authority directions of a general or of a specific nature as to the policy to be followed by the authority in the performance of its functions as appear to the minister to be requisite in the public interest.’ However, documents obtained suggest that circumvention of controls may have occurred.
“(B) The awarding of a contract without Cabinet approval along with the receipt of items by NSA before payment was effected.”
In its conclusion, the OAG said: “Having examined the accounting system, we conclude that there were many failures of executive management in breach of the Financial Administration and Audit Act 2010, Financial Regulations 1975 and the Sports Authority Act 2011. We have noted our observations in the report and concluded that besides several control functions in need of overhaul the accounts are being fairly maintained.”
Earlier this year, former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis ordered a lockdown of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture before receiving an internal audit that led to the resignation of then-Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture MP Lanisha Rolle.
The Tribune reported that when ministry officials and the board of the NSA became concerned that established processes and procedures were not being followed, they took their concerns to Dr Minnis. The Office of the Auditor General was in the midst of auditing the NSA––which manages and develops sporting facilities––at the time.