ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Opposition Senator and member of the Barbuda Council Arthur Nibbs is making an urgent call for an audit of the council’s finances and not an investigation of its operations.
Nibbs said the council’s accounts have not been audited for the last 15 or 20 years and he lays the blame for what appears to be a free-for-all at the feet of the government.
“The director of audit has a constitutional obligation to audit the accounts of the Barbuda Council ever so often. Ten to 15 years have elapsed without an audit so I think they are at fault,” Nibbs said.
The senior member of the council said the accounts of the council are open to the auditor general and his or her staff any day, and it does not take a request from the minister to have the accounts audited.
“I have been calling for an audit, not an investigation, because what is required by law is for the accounts of the council to be audited and every year the council is supposed to present their financial statement to the director of audit who in turn would cause a copy of that to be given to the minister of finance. The job of the minister of finance is to lay that before the House of Parliament. Once the accounts have been laid and there are reasons for further investigations that will be done,” Nibbs said.
“I have been calling for an audit and will continue to call for an audit because we cannot continue to have the public’s money being spent without having the necessary audit,” he added.
Meantime, for any investigation to take place according to the senator, the request must come from the councillors themselves.
Head of the finance committee Fabian Jones agrees with his fellow senator that audits need to be done on a regular basis. He said as of two years ago an internal audit was done by the council but it only turned up minor irregularities in procedure.