Governor on Report of $10 Million Overspend

October 26, 2010

This morning [Oct 26] Governor Sir Richard Gozney waded into the controversy surrounding the reported $10 million overspend at TCD,  issuing a statement saying “If anyone, inside or outside of Government, has evidence to substantiate allegations of criminality, I urge that person to give it, as soon as possible, to the Auditor General or to the Police.”

The Governor said The Auditor General’s Special Report “speaks for itself,” and that Auditor General Heather Matthews briefed him and “has my strong support in her decision to put the story in full, and publicly, to the Legislature.”

On October 21st, the Auditor General released a statement and report on the Motor Vehicle Safety and Emissions Testing Programme saying the report “describes a lack of accountability and a general disregard for established policies and procedures in the use of public funds.” Ms Jacobs says the initial budgeted cost was $5.3 million, however it ended up costing the taxpayer approximately $10 million more – $15.23 million.

Sir Richard’s full statement follows below:

The Auditor General’s Special Report of October 2010 on the Motor Vehicles Safety and Emissions Testing Programme speaks for itself. The Auditor General briefed me carefully on the contents of the Report and has my strong support in her decision to put the story in full, and publicly, to the Legislature.

I shall be interested to see how Bermuda’s Legislature receives the Report, and to hear what recommendations the parliamentarians may make.

Road transport policy is a delegated matter for the Bermuda Government in which Government House normally plays no part, but poor governance and poor accountability of large sums of public funds become issues for the Governor and the whole Island of Bermuda. The Auditor General’s Report paints a picture of sloppy mismanagement and a lack of adequate controls. Any contract which is allowed to treble in cost over 4 or 5 years cannot be well managed.

I was glad to read the swift reaction of the Finance Minister, including a commitment to change the present arrangements and, if I understand the thrust of what is proposed, to restore proper accountability and responsibility to the Ministry of Works & Engineering, whose procurement procedures appear to have been evaded in this case.

As for a Police investigation of the genesis and implementation of this building contract, the Bermuda Police Service liaise with the Auditor General on public sector contracts under scrutiny. If anyone, inside or outside of Government, has evidence to substantiate allegations of criminality, I urge that person to give it, as soon as possible, to the Auditor General or to the Police. The Police would not hesitate to investigate such evidence and, if upheld, to put forward a case for prosecution. Recently we saw them do so in the cases of a consultant to the Ministry of Tourism and of officials in the Ministry of Works & Engineering.

The full 40-page Auditor General’s report is below:

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  1. If it quacks like a Doc … | October 26, 2010
  1. Call as it is says:

    It would be nice to see just what is uncovered and any fraud prosecuted.
    All to often we read of Millions being overspent.
    So where is it and who has it…or spent it?

  2. Limerick says:

    “So where is it and who has it…or spent it?”

    Well, Ewart did just buy a 2.5 million dollar home in martha’s vineyard. You could start with him…

  3. terry says:

    Well, look at it this way…..Cement costs per bag as an ounce of gold.

    Someone made a huge profit. Like they say, follow the money but in this case it would be ‘invoices’. Fraud Squad will have it’s hands full with this one but by the time they finish Bermuda will be an empty and devoid island.

    Good on H.E. for saying to some extent he smells a rotten onion out there in the extinct ‘Golden Lilly fields………’

  4. Truth is killin' me says:

    Bermuda…you’re getting raped monetarily and it seems to me that you like it and don’t have a problem with it!!!

    • D says:

      Someone need to rally us together so that our voices can be heard. We should learn a lesson from ‘la jeunesse en France’.

  5. MCFC says:

    No wonder Brown defends Michael Misick. For someone like the Governor, coming from the U.K. where corruption involving the tax payer is treated as a crime against the nation, here in Bermuda the government continue to do it as if it is normal practice. These people need to be held accountable for negligence, what would happen in any other organisation where you overspent anything 3 times? You would be fired on the spot. Has anyone been fired yet? Or what about when you let a large vessell run onto the rocks through negligence, which will ultimately cost the tax payer? No one gets fired or even held accountable. I hate to say it, if the present Government continues to overspend withing the civil service and Tax the people and Business through payroll, we will have a very dire economic situation in 2 years time. International businesses are leaveing, Bermudian jobs are drying up our education system is in a terrible place. The younger generation are Killing eachother and guess what it is not getting better. We need a saint in these times and the PLP does not contain one!

  6. vern says:

    And what is the governor going to do about the violence and safety for people living on the island?He addresses one thing but we hardly here him talk about the situation of violence on the island?Proactive policing is weak on the island almost nonexisting police need to make house calls and sit on living room couches and find out what going on at a regular basis not just when an emergency happens,I WOULD LIKE A QUOTE OF HIM SAYING SOMETHING ABOUT THIS IN THE PRESS. THIS TOPIC IS IN THE PAST THE MONEY HAS BEEN SPENT ALREADY HAS IT NOT?? SO CAN HE TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE FOR CRYINT OUT LOUD AT LEAST ONCE,,MERCY!!

    • Amazed says:

      I agree with Vern – since when has a governor of this island in the past ever taken time from his socializing with the elite and garden parties to publicly support an Auditor report? The last governor interference was that rasclaat governor who signed off on larry dennis’ arrest warrant. Where is this governor on the violence? he is in charge of the police and I guess the fledgling auditor general who he appointed… if the report speaks for iself – why isn’t he letting it and why is he speaking publicly on this old news when he has remained so silent when people have lost their lives? Did any laws get changed since the BHC scandal? If not, then how he can think anyone can be found criminally liable for mismanagement at TCD when the prosecutor declined to charge government officials named in the BHC issue because he found unethical but not criminal behaviour due to the insufficiency of Bermuda’s laws? This governor is running interference fo larry dennis’ replacement and I have to wonder why.

  7. Call it like it is! says:

    Re the comments of “Vern” and “Amazed”. Perhaps if the $10 million cost overrun had been used to strengthen the Police Service in their fight against gun crime instead of on a project which has been grossly overpriced at great expense to the taxpayers then the Governor would have no reason to comment (except that the Auditor General is responsible to him). He might be said to be in charge of the Police, but he has NO POWER WHATEVER regarding their budget. That rests solely with the Government so let’s put the blame where it belongs. If Government is serious about serious crime they should start by updating and expanding the CCTV system to include high crime areas, mobile wireless cameras and 24 hour monitoring. Bet this could be done for a tenth of the cost overruns on this one project.

    • Amazed says:

      Yes and of course $10 million is worth more than one Bermudian gang member so of course that’s why the governor should speak out now, after the money has gone and after a report is issued that talks to things that happened four years ago and not after a life is lost. Silly me… I forgot what true Bermudian value$ were…. what I want to know is why the governor is interfering here and not elsewhere – and I think it’s because there have been things pointed out that this report circumvented normal practice and was aired in the media first and came out one week before a PLP leadership election when it should have come out a year ago. This damages the integrity of the office and the governor knows it has been hand holding this auditor general since day one when he made the appointment because if she screws up it looks badly on him. It astounds me how nobody can even stand back and look and assess all aspects of this report when its findings support ones pre-conceived beliefs – the lack of objectivity in Bermuda is why we have the government and civil service we deserve and they are sinking our ship.

      • Tired of nonsense says:

        You Brownites never cease to amaze me with your “logic…”

        A report has been issued which highlights blatant “mis-appropriation” (I prefer the term theft) of taxpayers $$$ due to Ministerial interference at the highest level of power and you lot want to harp on about the timing of the report and the issuer (aka: messenger) of the report.

        There is nothing in our Constitution or any other legal document that stipulates when the AG must disclose or not disclose a report designed to highlight such “inefficiencies.” I hope you were this boisterous regarding rule breking when your beloved Premier broke the one document that is designed to protect us all in June 2009….the Constitution that is…Were you? Doubt it…

        On top of that Ms. Matthews stated that the investigation into the TCD scandal was ongoing as of the beginning of this year. So how was she supposed to release it last year?

        Damages the credibility of the AG office, because she came public with findings that show blatant corruption within the Minnistry of Tourism? So I guess that yuo also agree that the office of the Premier has also been dealt a severe credibility blow due to Dr. Brown’s actions in this whole debacle?

        You Brown nosers are hilarious. For how many years have you defended this man when accusations of corruption were levelled at him, with the usual retort that there is no proof. But now there is just about concrete evidence you want pretend like its not even there.

        It is you Brown supporting zealots that have no credibility, not the AG or any other whistle blower, that seeks to defend the public purse. In fact I wish individuals such as yourself could be charged with aiding and abetting. Because that is exactlty what you committ every time you have and will defend the indefensible actions of Bermuda’s worst Premier in modern history.

        So how about you address the points raised. Or are the facts just too hard to swallow, or should I say your pride?

        • Amazed says:

          Boy you can only see one side… sad. My point is if you look at the press releases from this AG and the former one you will KNOW this investigation began under Larry Dennis sometime around May or June of 2009 (ergo the current AG lied in her press release that SHE initiated it soon after her appointment). The Ministries under investigation had individuals questioned about this project and the Dockyard project during the summer of 2009 – ask them. The TCD investigation was ended at the beginning of this year and the AG herself stated in one of them “she would be tabling them in the House” – if she is going to use the press to circumvent protocol even Larry Dennis chose to follow then she should have issued this report long ago. The Dockyard report should be out by now also. My point and question is what is the real reason the report was not realeased sooner – if this had come to light while the Premier was essentially still in power, then maybe the last 10-11 months of his leadership would have been quite different – may be the finance minister would have found some leadership skills to stand up to him – millions of dollars spent this year under his watch could have been diverted elsewhere to the police, for example; and the 2010/11 budget would not have seen millions of additional dollars awarded to his Ministries while others – more essential took a cut – maybe the PLP would have had a successful leadership challenge, maybe we could rest assured that we have a replacement to Larry Dennis who is not scared to take on the Premier, does not need constant hand-holding by the governor and also is devoid of political bias. Releasing this report when the target of it is leaving in days is a JOKE. Now open your little mind if you are capable. You resort to subjective thinking, labelling and name calling to argue your point while completely blind to the bigger picture. refraining from name-calling to attempt to prove your point be

          • Interesting says:

            So in other words you really just don’t want to address the facts and will continue to attack the messenger and her credibility in order to hope that the masses don’t actually come to the realization that they have been had and robbed at the same time for the last few years?

            At least I can see your side:)

          • Interesting says:

            Oh and maybe the AG’s office would be able to report more timely on audit matters if the current Government didn’t move the AG’s office, when the AG was on vacation and with no notice by the way, as well as reduce funding and thus resources as punishment for revealing not so nice facts about our financial matters. Gotta love “democracy.”

            Just maybe.

          • Interesting says:

            “didn’t move the AG’s office, when the AG was on vacation and with no notice by the way,”

            Should have read, “didn’t move the AG’s offices to an area that resembled more of a cubby hole than actual office space,”

          • Amazed says:

            Everyone is so happy this report and ignore that the timing of it has the least amount of impact possible. I guess you all condone the easy ride that the current Premier has been afforded by the fact that this report did not come out while he was in power. The only possible damage that it can do is to Paula Cox in tomorrow’s leadership vote as she is the only individual who contends the seat that is in the least bit implicated in the report’s findings. I don’t personally think she is leadership material and I think this whole government is toast but could have been sooner if this report and the Dockyard one were released to the public in time. Keep the people ignorant and uneducated (cut the education budget when this report’s findings may have had some effect on stopping that) and this is what happens when you selectively give them a little knowledge – proven here what a dangerous thing it is indeed. The facts in the report do speak for themselves – the facts do – but not very loudly – not near as voluminous as they would have been 10 months ago….. we are all being manipulated and few can actually see it.

  8. Amazed says:

    Interested – are you interested in the FACTS – the AG’s office was moved to an inoperable space in 2006 and that did not stop him from releasing reports of the BHC, the Berkley school, the UAE bond and all… I am 100% behind the amazing work that the former AG did under unconscionable circumstances – hell he was arrested and he still produced his reports on time and when the release of them made him a political target but they had effect. This is quite different – to compare the current AG with the former one is an insult to him and the hard work he had to do with no increase in staff or budget – the new AG has had a huge budget increase and still claims she can’t get her work done on time.

    • Tired of nonsense says:

      Let me ask you something…

      If the report was tabled within the timeframe that pleased you would the events and corruption evidenced in this report never happened?

      Would there be no $10mn “overruns” to report upon?

      Would there be no Ministerial intereference?

      Would the contract been properly and legally tendered instead of handed off to some Brown crony?

      So what is your point? Should the people be more upset at the timing of the report rather than the blatant theft of the people’s money?

      Seriously you have no credibility when you continue to attack the integrity of the one person commissioned with safeguarding the public purse and refuse to address the blatant corruption that has takenplace under Dr. Brown’s watch.

      Save your “reasonings” and so called “rebuttals” for the kool-aid drinkers and sheeple…

      PLP = Party before Country

  9. Call as it is says:

    maybe someone decided to call it as it is!!