Former BVI Ports Authority employees with intimate knowledge of the cruise pier project are behind the delay of the audit being undertaken on the project, says Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.
He told the House of Assembly on Thursday auditors KPMG had submitted a ‘confidential draft’ of the report for management at the BVI Ports Authority to review and make comments.
Those comments were then to be forwarded to KPMG but Premier Smith said government has encountered some difficulties in completing the task.
“It is my understanding the comments on the report have been provided. However, some of the information requested and referred to in the report … will need to be corroborated with persons no longer connected with the BVI Ports Authority,” said Dr Smith, who is also Minister of Finance.
“However, I am assured that final comments will be sent to KPMG by the middle of next week,” he added.
This is not the first time the Premier reported challenges in providing information to the auditors. Roughly a year ago, Dr Smith told the House that KPMG was made to do without a ‘small’ bit of information it had requested. He then said other information the auditors had already received would have been sufficient to continue their investigation.
When will audit findings be made public?
With the Premier’s latest audit update on Thursday, there is no clear indication when the findings will be ready.
But, whenever the process concludes, Premier Smith said it will first be submitted to Cabinet, which will then “make a decision as to when the report will be made public”.
KPMG was contracted some two years ago to investigate the project after it ended up costing $82.9 million; reflecting a cost over-run of more than $30 million.
Dr Smith said no monies have been paid to KPMG for their services to date. He, however, said the fees agreed to in the engagement letter with KPMG totalled $131,000.
Government hired KMPG to investigate the multimillion-dollar cruise pier project back in 2016.
The cruise pier was developed under the Smith Administration while former NDP member Claude Skelton Cline was Managing Director of the Ports Authority — the body which oversaw the project.
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