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Bahamas: Bahamians Must ‘Raise Hell’ Over Govt Waste

Bahamians must “start raising hell” over recent revelations of government waste, fraud and questionable contracts, a governance reformer urging: “We’ve got to move past this horrible era.”

Robert Myers, the Organisation for Responsible Governance’s (ORG) principal, told Tribune Business that The Bahamas desperately needed “to turn the corner” on practices that had caused “so many third world countries to go down in flames”.

He warned that Bahamian society “cannot survive” unless it halts “the blatant waste of taxpayer dollars”, which is threatening “to drag all of us down with it” through ever-increasing taxes, inferior public services and the undermining of a meritocracy.

Mr Myers’ comments came after the Auditor General’s report for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, tabled in the House of Assembly last week, revealed multiple incidents of fraud, corruption, waste of taxpayer funds and public sector mismanagement resulting from the absence of weak controls and inadequate supervision.

The report disclosed that the shredding of documents to cover up fraudulent activities was “a matter of routine” at the Department of Social Services, while the Post Office Savings Bank was possibly the world’s only financial institution not to know how much money it holds on behalf of depositors.

The Auditor-General also cited missing funds that could not be accounted for at the Road Traffic Department, along with instances of licensing fee evasion, duplicated licence slips and fraudulent insurance certificates.

That report’s release followed the tabling of two assessments in the House of Assembly that questioned whether the Ministry of Finance obtained “value for money” on a computer supply contract and deal to rent three apartments to house foreign consultants. (see story HERE)

FTI Consulting, the Bahamian accounting and advisory firm that investigated the Ministry’s procurement processes and contract awards on the Auditor General’s behalf, said neither deal was put out to competitive bidding with the Government’s Tenders Board is routinely bypassed in the awarding of contracts that should go before it.

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