Finance Minister Colm Imbert has denied that he or his ministry, approved any contracts for the police service under former commissioner Gary Griffith that may be in breach of the law.
At a PNM meeting in St James last Thursday, the Prime Minister accused Griffith of turning contracts over $1 million into multiple contracts below the $1 million limit.
Griffith as police commissioner would have been the accounting officer for the police service.
Dr Rowley claimed that Griffith used this loophole to engage in contracts that increased the expenditure of the police service.
In response, Griffith said all the contracts he engaged in during his three-year leadership were above board. He said the Finance Ministry had knowledge of them.
However, Imbert, in a release on Sunday, said: “It could be inferred from Mr. Griffith’s comments that the Ministry of Finance approved some or all the questionable contract awards that were highlighted in the audit report and disclosed at that PNM meeting on June 29.
“However, for the avoidance of doubt, no one at the Ministry of Finance – no public servant or minister – approved any alleged breach by Mr. Griffith of the Exchequer and Audit Act, the financial regulations, the Central Tenders Board Act, or any other financial law, if such occurred during his tenure as Commissioner of Police.”
Imbert said Griffith would have received the usual appointment letter as an accounting officer, giving him guidance on his role, functions, and responsibilities regarding all financial interactions. He said after receiving the advice, Griffith would have “proceeded to make his own decisions as accounting officer, manage his budget, incur liabilities, employ personnel, procure goods and services and award contracts.”
He said Griffith would have also been advised to strictly comply with the requirements of the Exchequer and Audit Act Chap. 69:01, the financial regulations and all applicable financial laws.