Auditor General’s Progress One Year Later

June 24, 2017

Auditor General Heather Thomas Bermuda“It is now one year since I took office as the Auditor General of Bermuda. The time has gone very quickly,” Heather Thomas said.

“I know and understand that our next audit reports are eagerly awaited. We continue to work hard on completing them. As detailed below, I hope to publish at least one report in the next couple of months.

“I had two priorities when I started my term: to bring the work of the office up to date and to ensure the best infrastructure for our work was in place. We have made good progress on both.

“The financial statements and their audits for a few of the agencies, government organizations and quangos that fall under the Audit Act 1990 were not current – sometimes dating back to the year ended March 31, 2003.

“My staff and I have been working closely with the entities in question and I am pleased to report that many of the outstanding financial statements are now up to date and audited, or a plan of action agreed.

“The audited financial statements of the Consolidated Fund for the year ended March 31, 2016, were issued on February 3, 2017 along with my Auditor’s Report and they were tabled in the House of Assembly on March 10, 2017.

“Although this represents a mark improvement over prior years, more needs to be done! We are hard at work and committed to timelier reporting. The annual audit of the Consolidated Fund financial statements is the largest and the most important piece of work that the Auditor General is required to do.

“In recent weeks, we have been working on a combined report covering our audits of the Consolidated Fund financial statements for the years ended March 31, 2013 to 2016. The report is another significant step in our commitment in bringing our work up to date.

“Given the very significant challenges that my predecessor faced in her tenure, the Office of the Auditor General [“the Office”] had been unable to produce an annual report on the work of the Office since 2010. I am currently developing a report that will cover the annual work and administration of the Office for the period between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2017.

“Of necessity, the report will focus primarily on the 2016/17 year but will also bring in highlights from the previous years. I believe that this approach is the most expedient to bring the Office’s reporting up to date.

“When I took office, the Commission of Inquiry into the Report of the Auditor General on the Consolidated Fund for the years ended March 31, 2010, March 31, 2011 and March 31, 2012 was getting underway. As the Commission’s name indicates, it was focused on the audit findings for the years in question.

“My staff and I spent considerable amounts of time supporting the Commission’s work. I was pleased that on May 31, 2017, the Premier of Bermuda made a Statement to the House of Assembly in which he provided a status report on the “first tranche” of the Commission’s recommendations that have been accepted by the Government.

“I sincerely hope that I will not encounter problems having the depth and seriousness on which my predecessor reported and which led to the establishment of the Commission. Be assured, I will report on any problems that I do encounter during my audits.

“However, despite what a few people may think, it is not my role to discredit or shame Government. Rather, it is to provide transparent, credible, independent information about the quality of government management and accountability that will lead to improvements where they may be required.

“With regard to the infrastructure for our work, we have been working hard and with the full support of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Office of the Auditor General to have, the Audit Act 1990 updated to reflect Auditor General best practice.

“Two key issues of focus have been to establish a fixed term for an Auditor General [an important element of independence] and to allow the Auditor General to “follow the money” – that is to be able to audit individuals and non-government organizations in relation to:

  • a. a grant, a transfer under an agreement, an advance of money, a loan, a guarantee for the performance of an obligation, or an indemnity given by, or
  • b. the collection of money for or on behalf of, the government, a government organization or a trust fund

“I am a strong believer in the importance of transparency and communication; we have updated our website to provide additional proactive disclosures, so you will be able to see the last year audited for the entities we audit, and what projects we are currently working on.”

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Comments (17)

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  1. Really says:

    Auditor General? We have one of those ? This is just priceless though: “However, despite what a few people may think, it is not my role to discredit or shame Government.” That’s clearly the new standard.

    • Truthhertz says:

      Or maybe, just maybe the shenanigans of the past were left in the past.

      Quite telling that once the OBA assumed power the five consecutive qualified audits the PLP received returned to unqualified status.

  2. Mad dog says:

    Can’t wait for the auitors report on the Americas cup
    100 Million Dollars…OBA YOU ARE IN SOME TROUBLE !!!!

    • Navin Johnson says:

      no where near $100 million…….and there is also revenue to be counted in for the AC…..what no mention of the reference to unaudited financials going back to 2003? now let me think who was the Government then?

    • aceboy says:

      Stop lying. Christians aren’t supposed to lie.

    • Sickofantz says:

      Do you live in a hole? Have you not seen what’s been happening on this island over the past months? Years.

      I am not yet convinced of the trickle down to the poorest yet but I have certainly seen alot of people employed and businesses doing well. Yacht Mooring costs, Gas stations, taxi’s,supermarkets.

    • jt says:

      One unqualified audit after another. Ho hum. So boring.

    • wahoo says:

      First she needs to find the $1B that went missing under the plp reign of shame. Mad Dog I think you be in trouble.

    • Kevin says:

      you are so right
      How dare you actually make a profit
      How dare you execute a world class event
      How dare you make actually allow 66,000 Bermudians forget the disaster after disaster of the previous regime
      Glad to have a chance to vote for a government who knows how to do it right

    • Really says:

      Mad dog, what about a report on the Beyoncé ,Lovefest, that thing on South shore, oh yeah, what ever happened to the Black majors convention? They never even came! The AC was awesome, and I’m guessing you may be shocked at how successful it was.

    • Earth watch police says:

      Hey mad dog return the 800 million we need it!

  3. puzzled says:

    Thank you Heather.
    Well done.

  4. Coffee says:

    Ms. Heather Thomas , how do you begin to find the $800 million reportedly missing under the last administration ?

    Why wasn’t the recent commission of inquiry unable or unwilling to pursue this very serious allegation from certain members of the public who know for sure , and swear hand on heart that $800 million simply disappeared without a trace .

    Please find that money !

  5. wondering says:

    We have a propensity to use the term “my staff…..”, which, as a statement in my experience connotates ownership but not of the kind that reflects true teamwork and esprit de corps but rather, personal ownership that isn’t the right fit for any public office or elsewhere.

    I trust and hope that the reasons for shortcomings in getting these reports completed isn’t because they haven’t simply been done (in some cases since 2003) – the Heads of Departments should roll and that of the associated officers who are responsible for finance and get paid handsomely I might add whilst employing Neanderthal era methods of accountability.

  6. Lemon Tree says:

    Keep up the good work and hold BOTH parties accountable please! There has been far too much abuse of this country’s finances and it needs to stop yesterday. Thank you for your efforts along with your team.

  7. Francis says:

    If you go back you will have more qualified audits. You will have huge fiscal mismanagement. Under the OBA there have been clean audits. Oh yes and Burt was Junior Finance Minister – when there was massive debt and qualified audits.