Auditor General Flags Overspend and Salary Advances Written Off in Montserrat’s 2018/19 Public Accounts

The Report of the Auditor General on the Audit of the Public Accounts of Montserrat 2018-2019 was presented to the Legislative Assembly on 28 July, 2020.
The Auditor General has the responsibility of auditing the Public Accounts of Montserrat and of all public offices and public bodies established by an Act of Parliament and to provide a report on her findings to the Legislative Assembly as per Section 103 of the Montserrat Constitution order and Section 42(1) of the Public Finance (Management and Accountability) Act 2008.
Some of the conclusions from the Audit of the 2018-19 Accounts are as follows:
The Government of Montserrat was issued with a qualified opinion on the 2018-2019 Public Accounts of Montserrat by the Office of the Auditor General. This audit opinion was given as the Auditor General, Ms. Florence Lee determined that two major financial statements had material misstatements and a number of regularity breaches were identified.
The material misstatements were the:
a) Long outstanding over-expenditures on project accounts with no movement on the account within the reporting period and with no prospect of recovery on the Statement of Assets and Liabilities on the Development Fund representing 276% of the total assets of that Statement; and
b) The arrears listing contains significant amounts that are considered uncollectible (including amounts owed by dead persons or entities no longer in operation) and omissions of amounts which represent 1.45% of total arrears.
The regularity breaches include
a) the write-off of advances without proper authority,
b) expenditures incurred without the authorization of a warrant and
c) a number of statements were not presented for audit.
Additionally, without modifying the opinion, the Auditor General drew attention to the fact that a significant principle of government accounting is that a government should implement a balanced budget.
For the 2018-19 fiscal year, recurrent expenditure exceeded recurrent revenue by $1.22M.

The full audit report highlights several other findings and recommendations and can be read here Auditor General’s Report on the Public Accounts 31 March 2019 – July 2020

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