THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris has welcomed Chief Secretary Farley Augustine’s decision to commission a forensic audit into five projects which were managed by the former PNM-led administration.
During Thursday’s plenary sitting in the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough, Augustine revealed he has ordered forensic audits into the projects covering the period October 2019 to November 2021.
The projects are the emergency restoration works programme; the road restoration programme; the road resurfacing programme; the emergency infrastructure rehabilitation project and the agricultural access roads programme.
He revealed a specialised forensic audit firm has been identified, evaluated and selected to conduct the audits and the process has started.
Augustine said those found to be culpable will face the brunt of the law.
The chief secretary’s announcement of the audits came during a detailed statement to the Chamber in which he outlined the THA’s financial position at the time the Progressive Democratic Patriots assumed office on December 13, 2021.
He revealed his administration has inherited a liability portfolio to the tune of more than $738 million.
But speaking briefly to Newsday after Augustine’s presentation, Morris said the news of the audits did not come as surprise.
‘The Chief Secretary did indicate that this administration will be undertaking forensic audits, which we welcome since we support any strategy that promotes accountability and transparency in public affairs,” he said.
But he dismissed the presentation as a rehash of the same information that was provided at the first executive council news conference of the new THA administration.
“I was looking forward to the presentation of additional information which was not previously shared before.”
Morris noted while Augustine lamented the perceived mismanagement of the previous THA executive council, “he could give no indication as to the cost of the various priority projects that are in the implementation phase of his administration.”