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Public Accounts Committee questions use of private accountancy firm to pay ministerial salaries

July 14, 2015 6:42 pm

The Ministry of Finance has been given two weeks to report back to the Public Accounts Committee on the use of a chartered accountancy firm to pay ministerial salaries from 2010 to 2012.

While scrutinizing the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Auditor General’s reports, the public accounts committee yesterday questioned Ministry of Finance officials on a number of issues.

Committee Chairman Dr. Biman Prasad highlighted the need for further clarifications

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“One of course is the salaries payment to the Ministers from 2010 right up to 2012 as highlighted by the Auditor General, these payments were made by Aliz Pacific Limited and the Auditor General has pointed out that the relevant documents are not available and the Ministry of Finance as you know today has said those documents are not available to them as well and they will be in-touch with the PM’s office and perhaps Aliz Pacific as well.”

Acting Finance Permanent Secretary David Kolitagane explained to the committee that the Ministry was sent a request from the Prime Minister’s office to pay a lump sum of a little more than a million dollars every year for the three years in question to the accountancy firm.

When questioned about the details of the payment, which ministers and for what amount, Kolitagane said they did not have any supporting documents to answer that – nor did they have acquittals to verify that the amount was paid out.

Kolitagane however did confirm that all ministerial wages from 2013 reverted to the government payroll.

Other ministries expected before the committee this week include the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Women, Children, Poverty Alleviation and Social Welfare. MB/

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