Monday, January 22, 2018

‘Missing documents do not make report flawed’

Two cases of missing documents do not make a flawed report.

That’s the position of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, in response to former Sport Minister Anil Roberts’ statement that the report presented by the Central Audit Committee into LifeSport was flawed.

In his resignation letter to Parliament on Monday, Roberts said: “One is left wondering how a fraudulent report like this Central Audit Committee report makes its way into our Parliament, and subsequently into our public domain.”

The report was commissioned and laid in Parliament by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on July 25. She has since forwarded it to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner of Police, the Integrity Commission and the head of the Public Service for action. Roberts resigned one week after the report was laid, “based on the inexplicable public furore that continued unabated based on misinformation in the public domain”.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Ministry acknowledged that two pages of a legal opinion by Head of Legal at the SporTT company “were inadvertently omitted when the front-and-back photocopying was being done to compile the final package of documents.”

This, the Ministry said, can only be seen as a human lapse and certainly not as a deliberate and insidious act of intent, creating any major flaw in the integrity of the investigation’s process or finding. The Ministry noted that even though the pages were omitted from the report, they were examined by the committee during the audit and the pages were missing only from the final package laid in Parliament. 

“The Ministry will ensure that the ‘missing pages’ are laid in the Parliament and submitted to the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner of Police and the Integrity Commission,” it stated.

The Ministry noted that a letter presented by Roberts from the law firm of JD Sellier and Company, regarding the second installment of a payment made to EBeam Interact Limited, was not presented to the audit committee before completion of the report.

“Therefore they stand by their statement that their findings were based on only those documents duly presented to them for auditing. In fact the Audit Report pointed out on page six that several documents were not presented to the auditors although numerous requests were made,” the statement added.

“These two instances of ‘missing’ documents do not change the Audit Committee’s findings and Final Report, nor do they represent any attempt at ‘doctoring’ the Report and acting with ‘malicious intent’. The Ministry of Finance and the Economy stands by the final conclusion drawn from the audit,” it said.