Transparency body urges oversight for MP's $10m fund
The $10 million fund for MPs to utilise for community projects should be put on hold until proper oversight and accountability measures are enforced in this programme, says the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute (TTTI).
TTTI chairman, by letter dated August 9, wrote to Finance Minister Larry Howai expressing concern over this initiative and raising a number of questions as to the processes which will govern the funds.
"TTTI is of the view that this allocation ought not to be introduced unless clear, transparent policies and regulations have been put in place to ensure transparency, control, accountability and integrity," stated Murray in the letter.
Murray said the TTTI embraces the vision of a world in which "government, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free from corruption".
"One element of this is to ensure that there is strict adherence to stated rules and regulations with respect to Government expenditure," he added.
He said while the TTTI recognises the rights and responsibilities of the Finance Minister and Government to manage the finances of the country and to facilitate the provision of services to the public—it is expected that a number of issues must be addressed with respect to this fund.
In the TTTI letter, a number of questions
were raised over the fund which follows:
• What are the specific areas and criteria for use of these funds?
• What procurement processes and procedures are being implemented?
• What are the procedures for tracking and evaluating the progress of projects?
• What mechanisms will be used for budgeting and expenditure of the funds?
• What accounting procedures, including levels of authority, will be used in the disbursement of the funds?
• What technical support will be provided to the MPs to assist them in making informed decisions in utilisation of these funds?
• What measures are being established for the auditing and reporting for the use of these funds?
• What manner and frequency of reporting will be introduced to ensure the proper monitoring of the use of the funds?