KINGSTON — Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC), the Hon Olivia "Babsy" Grange, says that the special report of the Auditor General’s Department on management weaknesses at the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS), is an outcome of efforts by her ministry to deal with the issues.
“I made a statement recently that I had ‘inherited a mess’ when I came to Government. Here is the evidence,” Miss Grange said in a statement issued by the ministry on Thursday (November 17), in response to media stories on the special audit report tabled by Auditor General, Pamela Monroe Ellis, in Parliament on Tuesday (November 15).
Among the issues in the report, was the finding that salaries and travelling allowances were being paid to two officers, who had not reported for work for up to seven years, totaling $11.7 million at July, 2011; the lack of suitable mechanisms to promote accountability and facilitate effective evaluation of its impact on ports in Jamaica; and the fact that the company’s last audited financial statement was for financial year 1991-1992.
“Today, the country is rightly concerned, as we have been, about the state of affairs of the Institute of Sports, which is an agency of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture,” Miss Grange said in Thursday’s statement.
The statement said:
“Although the Institute of Sports is a company – run by a Board of Directors and a team of managers and not the Ministry, the Ministry, nevertheless, has a responsibility to protect the interest of the taxpayer by ensuring that the entity is well run within the regulations. We take our responsibility very seriously.
“Indeed, as soon as we were able to establish the Internal Audit Division in what was (and is oftentimes still seen as a new Ministry), we began a serious examination of the processes within the Ministry and its Departments and Agencies to determine compliance with the regulations.
“Arising from that concentrated effort, the Ministry discovered and, subsequently, reported to the country on 23 February 2010, procedural weaknesses at the Institute of Sports and the Jamaica Anti-doping Commission.
“In our release at the time, we said that ‘the weaknesses were reported to the Fraud Squad, the Office of the Contractor General and the Auditor General, to allow for the necessary depth of scrutiny and for the appropriate conclusions.’
“This Special Audit Report by the Auditor General’s Department, therefore, arises from the Ministry’s concentrated and stringent effort to find and eliminate weaknesses in our systems that might facilitate breaches of the financial management regulations. The special audit was commissioned, after the Ministry asked the Department to look into some transactions at the entity, which concerned us deeply.
“I made a statement recently that I had ‘inherited a mess’ when I came to Government. Here is the evidence. The special audit report has shown the entire country, the problems and the massive challenges that we face to correct them. We were already making steps to correct some breaches, which we knew about, and will continue to make the necessary changes to ensure that the entity becomes efficient and effective.
“Today, the new Board of the Institute of Sports (which I announced last week) met to consider how to improve corporate governance. The Board has established the necessary committees to deal with the transformation of the entity, and has asked the management to give a detailed response to the Special Audit Report.
“I have asked the Board to give periodic updates, to me and the public, about initiatives being taken to transform the entity into a well-run organization,” she concluded.
Miss Grange has been the Minister in charge of the Institute of Sports since 2007.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor