Nassau| As Prime Minister Hon. Philip Brave Davis Q.C. told Parliament that he intends to read next week his NEW DAY Government’s first Budget, but today tabled revelations from an audit into the ‘National Food Distribution Task Force’ and the ‘National Food Distribution Programme’.
Prime Minister Davis told Parliament how huge quantities of records and key documents are either missing, or were never kept in the first place with the programme.
“In the case of the Food Programme, requests for credible documentation of how $53 million was spent have not been answered. To be clear, documents have been provided, but they are not documents that answer the most important questions posed.
“In the case of the Food Programme, some documents have been proffered up, but they do not provide answers to the Bahamian people’s questions.” PM Davis told Parliament.
The 138 page audit report sighted 18 categories of major deficiencies where a widespread lack of record-keeping, and widespread inconsistencies relating to the sums of money handled, to a complete absence of minutes being kept of meetings, agreements and actions.
– The Task Force could not provide the auditors with information that should have already been completed and readily available.
– There’s no back-up provided: no contracts, no cheques, no receipts and no bank statements to support the information.
– Some organisations concerned have still refused to provide any information whatsoever.
-Public Officers did not have oversight of the expenditure of funds. and Expenditure of millions of dollars remains unexplained and undocumented.
Prime Minister Davis added that, “No audited financial statements have been provided, so information provided by the NGOs cannot be confirmed. Information Dashboards presented by the Task Force did not reconcile to the information provided by NGOs.
“So, for example, just to highlight the point, if the Task Force is saying that they gave an NGO $100,000, and the NGO is saying they only received $80,000, what’s happened to the difference?
“In fact, numerous instances have been identified when the NGOs concerned did not account for the total amount funds received from the Government.”
PM Davis reminded the Parliament that he no personal quarrel with any of the individuals or NGOs involved. Mr Davis added that he fully intend to uphold the solemn promise which I made to the Bahamian people; “…lifting the veil of secrecy on that which has gone before us, so that all of the arrangements under which we have to live are transparent, and those who authored them are [held] accountable.”