Gov’t should apologise to Auditor General Jaiwantee Ramdass

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Gov’t should apologise to Auditor General Jaiwantee Ramdass

Government has been told to apologise to Auditor General Jaiwantie Ramdass.

According to Independent Senator, Hazel Thompson-Ahye, Ramdass was simply “trying to do her job to the best of her ability.”

Thompson-Ahye made the suggestion while speaking in the Senate on Monday, during the debate for the extension of time for the submission of Ramdass’s submission of an audit report for the 2023 fiscal year.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert recently revealed the revenue for fiscal 2023 was mistakenly understated by $2.6 billion in his ministry’s report to Ramdass in January. He said this was caused by an issue with a new electronic system.

He said Ramdass was informed but her final report was not done based on the updated information, and sought for an extension for submission. However, he added that Ramdass initially declined to accept updated accounts, but later did.

Ramdass has since sent a pre-action protocol letter to Imbert and Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, over their comments on the matter.

Imbert has since denied claims within this.

Thompson-Ahye said based on global organisation Transparency International, the role of an auditor general is to be an ally of the people.

“While Parliament is the people’s representation, the auditor general provides people with accurate and independently-derived audited information on state organisations and public body expenses.”

She said the phrase “accurate and independently-derived” is “crucial” to the debate and should be the starting point.

“My view differs from the attorney general and minister of finance…

“I see the present auditor general as a person who has just come into office and wants to do the right things, but is unsure of how to proceed.”

She said: “True, she had been a deputy for some years, and although a deputy may be essential, a deputy is not a principal.”

Thompson-Ahye said Ramdass was “met with a situation that is unprecedented and needs to be resolved.

“It might have achieved a better result had the had the attorney general sat down with the auditor general to arrive at a common understanding…”

She said she saw nothing “wrong, bizarre, irrational or obstructionist” about Ramdass’s actions.

Ramdass, she said, is trying to do her job and “everyone else should get on with theirs.”

She suggested the government “offer an apology” to Ramdass, which was met by thumps of desks by Opposition Senators.