Governor Augustus Jaspert has announced that experts have been hired to conduct further investigations into the failed $7.2 million agreement between the previous National Democratic Party government and the defunct airline, BVI Airways.
These experts have been hired to assist the ongoing criminal investigations being conducted by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
“I was pleased to support the Commissioner’s request to appoint independent financial investigation experts to set the wheels in motion for the investigation and I am grateful to members of the National Security Council for agreeing to the funding,” the Governor said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“Once his investigation has concluded, further investigations can commence, including in relation to any potential breach of rules and regulations by public officers. The Deputy Governor will lead on that work,” he added.
This announcement follows the release of the Auditor General’s report on the BVI Airways Flights to Miami.
Flaws in accountability
Governor Jaspert said the findings of the report has shown that many flaws exist in the government’s system of accountability.
He said: “Notwithstanding the accountability procedural measures mentioned in the Financial Management Act, its supporting regulations, the reporting processes that are in place for projects of this nature, we now need to determine how have the current systems and practices enabled this to happen?”
“I believe that this and previous audit reports show that there are fundamental deficiencies in our systems, practices and procedures which are designed to protect public finances and ensure proper project management,” he added.
Commitment to transparency and good governance
The Governor also reaffirmed his commitment to good governance, transparency and accountability within the territory, and said that he will be meeting with Premier Andrew Fahie and other members of government to correct the existing gaps within the system.
“I will be following up with the Honourable Minister of Finance and all of Cabinet to ensure that the systems are improved to address issues raised in this and earlier reports to ensure that new, tighter practices are adopted to further ensure full accountability and transparency for Government funds. This should not be able to happen again,” he stated.
“We need to stand up for them and ensure high standards are upheld and are improved upon. This report, and others before, have proven that there is room for improvement. Let’s seize the opportunity and deliver a positive outcome from it,” Governor Jaspert further said.
The Auditor General’s report has suggested that a number of negligent acts from government heads involved in the BVI Airways deal contributed to many of the decisions that resulted in taxpayers losing $7.2 million in the project.
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