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Premier not sure when pier audit will be completed

A section of Tortola Pier Park

A section of Tortola Pier Park

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said there is no fixed date for completion of an audit into the controversial pier and park project now completed as Tortola Pier Park in Road Town, Tortola.

“The audit on the cruise pier project is ongoing. The auditor, KPMG, has been working with all parties involved to ensure that all relevant documentation needed to complete the audit has been identified and submitted for review and analysis.”

Premier Smith further noted that KPMG was engaged in September 2016 to audit the project.

He did not respond to a specific question as to when the actual audit started. Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie posed the questions in the House of Assembly on April 20.

Premier Smith explained that the duration of the audit is dependent on different factors, including the volume of information and how quickly such information is furnished to the auditor.

“Given the nature of the exercise, there is no fixed date of completion for the audit. KPMG, in its letter of engagement, indicated that it envisaged that the audit would take up to three months. However, this was contingent on the volume of information identified for analysis, the timely provision of the requested information, as well as the time required to thoroughly review and analyze the documents received,” the premier said.

Meanwhile, when the premier initially announced his government’s intention to hire an auditor, the parliamentary opposition raised objections. It argued that the government should not be the one hiring the auditor, adding that it is conflict of interest for the administration to employ an auditor to audit its conduct in relation to the multi-million dollar project.

There have been concerns about – among other things – whether corruption and misappropriation of funds was involved in execution of the project, which ended up costing $82.9 million. That amount reflects more than $30 million in over-spending.

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