Auditor General Highlights Her Office’s Mandate

January 27, 2017

Auditor General Heather Thomas has taken the time to clarify her office’s mandate as defined in the Bermuda Constitution and the Audit Act 1990.

A spokesperson said, “The Auditor General, Ms. Heather Thomas responds to questions about the mandate of the Office of the Auditor General, the audits she conducts and her activities.

“The Auditor General’s mandate is derived from the Bermuda Constitution and the Audit Act 1990. Her primary role is to assist Members of the House of Assembly to discharge their responsibilities for overseeing the activities of government and for holding government accountable for its handling and accounting of the taxpayers’ dollars.”

Ms. Thomas said, “It is the role of Parliament and elected officials to decide on policy. I do not have any role in reviewing or commenting on the relevance or appropriateness of government’s policy decisions. As such, the Office of the Auditor General does not report on nor evaluates policies of the Government.

Heather Thomas Bermuda January 27 2017 TC (1)

“I am therefore unable and will not respond to topics or inquires which do not relate to my mandate and role. However, as Auditor General, I can report on, at my discretion, how policies are implemented.”

The spokesperson said, “As in other parliamentary systems, the public’s elected representatives, the Members of the House of Assembly, control the public purse. While it is up to government to develop budgets and spending estimates, it may neither collect nor spend taxpayers’ money without the House of Assembly approval.

“After government spends the money entrusted to it, it has to report to the Assembly on how it used those public funds. The Assembly needs assurance that the information reported by government is appropriate, credible and complete and that it accurately reflects the results of the activities of government.

“This is where the independent role of the Auditor General of Bermuda is critically vital to the integrity of our Government’s finances. As Auditor General, I provide a link in the chain of accountability and one that is vital to the democratic process of responsible government.

“The Auditor General and her office conduct the independent audit function to provide the assurance to the Bermuda Government, the Members of the House of Assembly, the Bermuda taxpayers, the various credit rating agencies, and the global finance community.”

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Comments (19)

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  1. Point boy says:

    I always respect the Auditor General’s view. (Non biased and fair).

    But when you here once twice… :responsible government; good governance; transparency…

    This ALL comes from the plps legacy of misleading, false promises, misinformation!

    It’s all good! Sorry, but I had to mislead you. Wow!!

    Where was the protesters?

  2. Lois Frederick says:

    Thanks for the clear message. So much for Burt even today saying that he had proposed a sensible counter-proposal in November to have the Auditor General review the Airport deal. She can’t.

  3. aceboy says:

    Airport.

    The PLP have repeatedly called for the AG to do an investigation. Why? She now has to clarify her role for their benefit, publically. One has to wonder….

    Can the PAC now clarify it’s role in the same way the AG has done please?

  4. Say Whaat? says:

    But were you asked to review policy or a deal that will be using the taxpayer’s money?!?

    “…for holding government accountable for its handling and accounting of the taxpayers’ dollars.”

    The airport deal is going to tie up a good chunk of Bermuda’s revenue stream FOR 30 YEARS and she’s too scared to review it for the people! Guess the OBA picked a good puppet.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      Did you even read the justifcation as to what her role entails and what doesn’t?

    • sugra says:

      Did you read this far, or just cherry picking to try to keep the facts out of the way?

      “After government spends the money entrusted to it, it has to report to the Assembly on how it used those public funds…. (snip)…. This is where the independent role of the Auditor General of Bermuda is critically vital to the integrity of our Government’s finances.”

      In this pea soup fog of political pollution and for the benefit of the community choking on it, Mrs. Thomas has rightly explained the essential role of the OAG as enshrined by our Constitution.

      And calling “scaredy cat” on a qualified Bermudian professional with the courage to accept the role despicable and desperate. The AG carries a tremendous burden of responsibility… even without the threat of imminent arrest.

    • WarwickBoy says:

      Can you not understand that, legally, the AG does not have the power to do what you and others think the AG should do? If the AG’s office were to wade into the areas that the PLP leader wishes it to, it would be unlawful.

      The AG has explained precisely why it cannot be done. What more is there to say?

      Furthermore, who selects and confirms the person chosen as the AG? It’s not the elected MPs.

    • Earth watch police says:

      Maybe when the plp wins the next election they will throw her in jail like they did to Larry Dennis.

    • aceboy says:

      Why does she have to review anything about the airport? More importantly why are the PLP INSISTING that the wrong person for the job be given that job? It would appear that the PLP do not have the acumen to review the documents and are hoping to put pressure on the AG for a friendly PLP result.

      The PAC are tasked with reviewing the reports of the auditors, which is why they should publically come out and state their role, just as the AG has done, because Burt and Furbert are doing everything they can to keep those reports from being discussed in their roles as Chairman of the PAC. So the offer was made to the PAC to review it given that they seem to want to discuss the project ad neuseum, even when it is not in their remit.

      Now there is absolute confusion. Wayne said the Finance Minister is a liar and that the reports were not offered to the PAC.

      It seems that the right hand of the PLP do not know what the left hand is doing.

      I can’t wait to see how they are going to explain that one.

      Auditors are tasked with looking at results not the future. Read the article again and maybe you will understand.

      • aceboy says:

        …and given all the silly games do you REALLY think it shows that the PLP are all about Good Governance?

      • Onion says:

        It’s the PLP strategy. They:
        a) Ask for something impossible to give
        b) Blame others when they don’t get it

        It’s all about manufacturing scandals and trying to push a narrative.

    • mark says:

      Did you even read the article? Or even read the passage you quote? She does not review policy or in laymens terms, deals such as the airport agreement before they are done. Stop ya nonsense. Also, i love that the plp puppets keep harping on about the 30yr thing when the reason why we cant borrow the money up front is due the plp’s woeful term in office! This is the only way to do it and all your griping is clearly based on lies or misunderstanding. Dont comment if you dont understand or are just interested in your political gain at the expense of country and our future!

    • jt says:

      This comment is a shining example of what the PLP are relying on.

  5. Jenn says:

    What counts is what actions are taken after the AG has published her findings.

  6. Aware says:

    The AG’s role ( and the restrictions on it ) which she is very clearly explained, is presumably why a Blue Ribbon Panel was formed and requested to review the airport transaction. Their report is due next week.

  7. Lois Frederick says:

    Interestingly in Burt’s most recent written response to the Premier regarding thie Airport, he has changed his demands. He now wants an independent firm to cast their eyes on the agreement. This of course has been done a few times already, just not to his satisfaction. Roadblock. He has managed to put himself in a very limited position. But he is having his say, which what he is afforded in his capacity. In contrast the Govt. will have its way, having presented an unprecedented amount of information to the public and offered it all to him which he rejected.

  8. hmmmmmm says:

    OK. For those of you who still don’t get it. The auditor general cannot audit the contract and the also audit the project. That is a conflict. Plain and simple.

    She cannot do both.

  9. Destroyer says:

    For fear that some still may misunderstand, I offer a bit of clarity.

    Audit: Systematic examination of books, accounts, documents and vouchers of an organization to ascertain how far the financial statements present a true and fair view of the concern.

    Meaning – the AG examines, and gives account for monies SPENT, only AFTER monies have been SPENT. It is NOT within the remit of the AG to perform pollicy analysis.