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Every gov’t project over $250K should be audited — Walwyn

The central Administration Complex in Road Town. (GIS photo)

Education Minister Myron Walwyn wants any government project that exceeds quarter million dollars to be audited.

He said such a policy is a way of ensuring good governance and ensuring that the processes governing these projects continuously improve.

“I believe that every project over $250,000 should be audited whether you hear malicious rumours [about those projects] or not,” the minister noted

While speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Walwyn further said he believed audits ought not to be punitive in nature but rather to promote openness.

The minister, however, said the Office of the Auditor General – which is responsible for auditing and reporting on government operations – need to be better monitored in the process.

“Government is about checks and balances and somebody has to guard the guards and the auditor general office can’t just write anything they want and then it goes out to the House of Assembly and it becomes a public document and smear people’s character and nobody can come back and say ‘you probably didn’t do a good enough job’. Those are concerns that I certainly have,” Walwyn said.

He made that assertion while suggesting that the ‘special report’ the auditor general drafted on the controversial wall around Elmore Stoutt High was not balanced.

He effectively said the report could mislead the public into believing that the education ministry did not follow the required guidelines when contracting persons to construct the wall.

The construction of the 1,562-foot wall had a cost overrun of a little more than $157,000. The final cost of the project was $985,690.86.

He said employing the petty contract system as one of the means to construct the wall was a major contributor to the cost overrun.

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26 Comments

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  1. Jail um says:

    I hate when they try to justify corruption

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    • Not2Sure says:

      You know what would be even better – if they just audited ALL Government expenditure and then published the audits so that the hard working taxpayer could see what Government is doing with their money.

      Oh wait, they are supposed to be doing that *already*, except that they are now YEARS behind in providing the audits that they are already required to provide by law.

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  2. Really!!!!! says:

    $250,000 is way too low Tortola is not that big and setting a benchmark so hi is a ploy to allow lots of small unaudited contracts . You will see a contract split up into smaller contracts to avoid scrutiny . Fraud and curuption in weaved into BVI those out of the money loop protest until their time comes around and then they are more than happy to steal from BVI . ALL contracts issued by the gov MUST use pre published agreed rates that are independent and validated by RISC or similar . ALL tenders must use the rates and submit in the same gov approved format . All tenders must be submitted to an independent adudcator . All gov employees must declare any interests in tenders that could prejudice the desision process and all gov employees must declare and favours benefits in kind or anything that could influence a tender . Ministers are gov employees too . Breach of any rules my gov employee will result in criminal action and the punishment will be tougher because that are in positions of trust. This is the way all western governments work period !!!!

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  3. lawyer ron says:

    A thief is always innocent until proven guilty. What is the difference between an innocent thief and a guilty one? Bottom-line, a thief is a thief.

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  4. ndp heckler says:

    He ain’t got no shame ? I can’t believe that he is still here trying to justify shite

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  5. Agree says:

    After seeing how the minister spends money ALL the contracts under his ministry should be audited. We the public need answers.

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  6. My 2 cents says:

    We not buying it we trust the auditor general not tallboy

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  7. Iconoclast says:

    The Hon Mryon Walwyn needs to stop the BS. All of a sudden when the bright light is on him the Auditor General is bad. All of a sudden every contract over $250K should be audited. A certain % contracts should be audited annually. Further, audits should also be conducted when valid complaints of wrong doing(s) are lodged……..etc.

    The MEC $250K threshold places a high admin burden on Auditor General. Perhaps all contracts should be audited. Strong and effective management reduces the workload on the Auditor General. In addition to the Auditor General, ministers, backbenchers, opposition, permanent secretaries, department heads, MoF personnel, law enforcement……etc all play key roles and have an obligation to ensure that the procurement rules are strictly followed.

    Here is a news flash for the MEC and others. The Auditor General’s audits is not about balance; they are about finding and reporting the facts. It is a binary choice; it is either the policies are being followed or not. Period. The Auditor General’s role is not to glorify A and punish B; it is about FACTS. As C. Dickens said in Hard Times, it is about the Facts.

    Let’s face it. This project was a royal mess. 70 contractors. Really. The MEC just needs to review and strengthen the procurement process in the MEC and move on. The focus should be on improving the lives of residents and advancing the progress of the territory.

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  8. no way says:

    HE CANT BE OUR NEXT PREMIER

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  9. he is not the answer says:

    It is obvious now

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  10. civil servant says:

    its been over a year since irma and we need a.c in the complex this is inhumane

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  11. Hmmm says:

    I think people are missing the point of what is really going on here. This isn’t only about Myron but also the integrity of key departments and officers in Government. Say what you want, but based on the facts presented:
    -Auditor’s team not doing a walk through with independent project manager or ministry officials
    -The fact that public works used measurement of a regular wall for their cost analysis when in fact the dimensions of the footing of the wall at eshs is 4x greater.(they would have known if they visited the site)
    -The fact that comments were submitted with the draft and nothing was taken into consideration.
    -The fact that the draft report is identical to the final report with no amendments made, even with the comments submitted.
    -The fact that a consultancy company did an appraisal of the wall and valued it at $899K, about $15k less than what the ministry has paid so far.

    I just think something is really unethical with the manner in which this audit was performed. And if this is the standard of how all govt projects are audited by the Auditor General office then something is seriously wrong.

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    • Banker says:

      Auditors don’t add comments to their reports. Unless the comments has corrected a material issue in the draft report, it will not cause the report to be changed. For example from the other news site it showed where the issue of not having trade licenses was mentioned in the report and the comments from the ministry stated why they didn’t have to have trade licenses. That doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t have trade licenses. An audit deals with procedures and perhaps the Auditor is hinting that going forward only qualified persons i.e those that hold trade licenses etc. should be working on government construction projects.

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      • Agree says:

        I agree with Banker. I will only add that the contractors are required to have Trade Licences. That’s the law. For construction work they also need to show that they are experienced and qualified in order to get a license to do construction.

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    • SMDH says:

      You only change a draft if there is an ERROR. Not to add excuses or inaccuracies. Unethical is what happened on this project.

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    • layman says:

      The amount approved for the wall was actually for a longer wall (entire perimeter). What was done is little over a half of the perimeter and yet the cost has over run. We are talking about a block wall for Christ sake. Public Works build walls all the time and they don’t fall down. What is so special about this wall? Everyone can see that the minister intended to use it for votes. 70+ contractors on a wall was a feast.

  12. @Hmmm says:

    Not a lot of facts in your “facts”. Only repetition of the Minister’s misstatements which are inaccurate and self serving.

  13. What Time Is It? says:

    No technicalities allowed MW. The lady is trained in her field and is in her position by appointment; because she knows her stuff….and is respected and trusted, (and Impartial just like the Speaker of the house is)
    Stop it MW. If you wish to practice law its easy and we can help you out, come Election time. Again, No Spin, no technicalities allowed. We discussing our moneys; our Tax Dollars.

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  14. Gandalf says:

    Everyone here acting like it is just Myron this, and Myron that. I get that he is the target of choice right now and the light on him is bright! But the guys over at VIP and every other politician over the last 15 plus years have milked this country dry! Everyone goes on like the new group is a fresh start or new and better choice. Well Ladies and Gentleman, they’re recycled, and selling snake oil just as tainted and probably even more nasty! To listen to them accuse people of things that they themselves are also guilty is pathetic!

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  15. Yawn! says:

    And everybody who feel they above the law and want to abuse their power by bribing people with my tax money, yet instead of walking away in shame they decide to through a tantrum when their actions are being called out for what it is… should seek Therapy and get the h**l off the news blogs… Chuupes.

  16. Haha says:

    The overall cost for that wall is definitely not what a regular civilian would have to pay.

  17. Brad Boynes says:

    Why this tal know,? He didn’t see the need eh or the wall commenced? Crock of shiggidy. All government contracts should audited after the blatant and reckless mismanagement of the public purse by this @#$&* government.

  18. To Many Cooks Spoils what? says:

    The mere fact that there were so many contractors tells the story. There just simply had to be high cost and inferior work; not that the workers weren’t good at what they do, but just the numbers and perhaps insufficient oversight.
    In 2011.
    Premier RT O’Neal paved the road from North Sound, just east of Hog Haven Restaurant to where it connects with the adjoining road at Nail Bay development; a distance of approximately 3 miles. The road was of solid concrete, winding down hill the full length. There were I think, 18 contractors and a total cost of around a million dollars; including the concrete.

  19. Ra says:

    Thanks for suggestion for the work or contract to be audited. This will only work where there is good record of accountability and transparency.
    All contracts should be well tabled[ with appropriate bidding before commencement.Auditing should be done after completion.This will show how tax payers money is being spent.
    What do we want to say about million dashed out to alien airline company?
    It is painful that Workers are paying more and more , especially in terms of work permit,taxes and others
    God will help us

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