BY VAHNU MANICKCHAND
In light of mounting calls for Government to take action on the findings emerging from the forensic audits into several State agencies, Minister of State Joseph Harmon has disclosed that some of the audit reports have been sent to law enforcement bodies for further probing while actions are being taken administratively on others.
Harmon was at the time responding to questions posed during this week’s post-Cabinet briefing on Friday.
According to the Minister, it is important that the public understands that while the audits have actually discovered some wrongdoings, they were not provided with all of the information, which in some cases, persons refused to give them.
Nevertheless, Harmon explained that having received the findings from the audits, Government had to determine whether some will have to go to the Police for Police investigation while others will be dealt with administratively.
“Those which have to go to the Police, we have actually sent some of those files to the Police and to SOCU (Special Organised Crime Unit) and they have actually started their investigations. Matters which are to be dealt with administratively, we are taking actions administratively,” he disclosed.
In fact, the Minister of State outlined that only on Thursday President David Granger had a meeting with all of the Permanent Secretaries in the various Government Ministries during which he made it very clear what their responsibilities are in relation to these audits.
“So you will see some actions being taken as it relates to administrative recommendations and some actions are to be taken with respect to Police work, which has to be done,” he remarked.
Moreover, Harmon went on to say that in order to establish a case in the court, there is a certain standard of proof which has to be established, adding that the standard for an auditor is not the same standard which the police requires for building a court case.
“So what you provide to the Police from the audit will be certain statements and findings from the audit; for the Police to now make this a matter for the court, they will have to go beyond what the audits say and found. They will have to get additional information to ensure that they have a case, which when it goes to court, they will be able to secure convictions,” Minister Harmon explained.
On this note, the Minister of State urged the public to be patient, noting that the information is coming out and it is now up to the State to take it to the next level, which they are doing currently.
“The information is in the public domain about what the auditors have found but in some cases, you just can’t act on that because in many cases, personalities and persons’ tenure in office is affected by what is written and so we have to be sure that we have enough and solid information so that when we act, we act wisely and we act justly,” he stressed.