18 August, 2008

Government Accounts

The Published Accounts of the Government of Anguilla and the Report of the Chief Auditor. Have you ever seen a copy of the audited public accounts of the Government of Anguilla? I never have. I consider that very careless of me. Every educated Anguillian should read a copy of the national accounts and audit report each year. We should make ourselves able to comment intelligently on them? They are our accounts.

The fact that we do not receive a gift of money from the British taxpayers does not mean that we should not be concerned about our national accounts. When your bank account is in the black, are you less careful about reconciling your bank statements than when they are overdrawn? No, you check them every month to make sure that no mistake has been made. It should be no different with our national accounts. Just as important as the national accounts is the report prepared each year by the Chief Auditor. He examines the government accounts and produces a report on them. He advises whether he has found any questionable activity in the accounts.

The Chief Auditor for Anguilla is Martin Daynes of the National Audit Office of the United Kingdom. He is appointed by the Governor under section 79 of the Anguilla Constitution 1982. He is independent of the government. He reports only to the House of Assembly. His report is supposed to be the main tool used by the Public Accounts Committee in its supervision of the manner in which government has spent the money voted by the House of Assembly. We know the PAC does not function in Anguilla, and never has. Could that be the reason why it is so difficult to find anyone who has seen the national accounts or the report on them?

A Chief Auditor typically produces four types of auditor’s report on the national accounts of a government. The four types may be summarised as follows:

Type 1. Where the audit has revealed nothing amiss, the Chief Auditor issues an unqualified audit opinion. This is sometimes referred to as an "audit certificate" or (especially by private sector audit firms) as an "audit report". The wording of such a report follows a standard format, as laid down in International Standards on Auditing. The audit report is appended to the accounts to which they relate.

Type 2. Where the audit has revealed an issue which merits the attention of the reader of the accounts, the Chief Auditor prepares a written report on the matter in addition to the standard (Type 1) audit report. Such reports can, for example, result from major errors or omissions being found in the evidence supporting the figures in the account. In such circumstances, the Chief Auditor’s audit opinion will almost certainly be qualified in one or more respects. This is called a Special Report. Whenever such a report is delivered, you would expect that the PAC would have a lot of questions for the different government departments.

Type 3. The Boards of many of Anguilla's government agencies have the power to appoint their external auditor. From 2004, the Social Security Board appointed the accounting firm of KPMG as their external auditor. When they do so, the Financial Administration and Audit Act 2003 requires the Chief Auditor to report on the results of the agency's audits. I have searched the Social Security website. In previous posts on this Blog, I complained that no audited reports were available. Now, I find the reports for the years 2000, 2002 and 2003 posted on the Board’s website. I read the 2003 Auditor’s Report on the web. I was pleased to find that it is a clean report. It is signed by Martin Daynes, as the law requires. This is to be commended. But, is it usual or acceptable for the accounts of a Social Security Board to be five years in arrears in publication?

Type 4. The Financial Administration and Audit Act of 2003 permitted the Chief Auditor for the first time to undertake examinations of the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which government uses resources. Such examinations are commonly called "Value for Money Audits". To date, the results of one such audit have been laid before the House of Assembly. The report was entitled "The Establishment and Operation of the Anguilla Health Authority". It covered how the Authority came to be set up, and the results achieved in its first two years (ie 2004 and 2005). It is in some ways a troubling report. It is deserving of more investigation and questioning. You should apply for a copy and read it for yourself. There were many questions that could have been asked in the PAC, and some person or persons brought to account.

I am told that the reports on the Government of Anguilla accounts up to the year 2005 should be available from the Ministry of Finance. I have applied. Someone is to let me know when the copies are ready for me, and what the cost is.


  1. It is good to see that Social Security has finally stopped insulting our intelligence by publishing Annual Statements with the accounting section omitted.

    Unfortunately, these statements are so old as to be almost useless.

    In the government budget, one can see the actual earnings and benefits of each officer. Social Security, however, cleverly makes this impossible by lumping all salares into one line. There can be only one reason to do this--to conceal what the Director makes and what additional benefits he receives.

    We have heard rumours over the years that various employers have fraudulently deducted Social Security contributions from the wages of their employees but have failed to pay these funds over to Social Security. No mention is made of these contingent assets in the audit. The excuse, of course, is that their accounting is reported on a cash basis. This allows them to conceal these failures. This is of less importance to us as a people than it is to older Anguillians who work for years, pay their contributions, apply for their old age benefits and are told, in effect, by the Director, who does not appear to suffer from hunger, "Sorry, your employer never paid us, we conspired with him to keep this information from you, and you get nothing. Too bad about your being hungry. You must go to the Welfare and beg for help. Any inconvenience is sincerely regretted."

  2. This is Tim. I had planned to not respond to you again, my friend or at least i think so since you continue to be so nasty. I cant help that. However, I will say for the record that you should know better than to compare the Social Security ACCOUNTS with the Government BUDGET. Of course the Govt budget gives line salaries and benefits for each office, as does the Social Secuirty budget. But thats the budget, do you really expect to see 800 or 900 lines for Govt accounts with the salaries/benefits of each officer? Or those for social security staff in its accounts? Come on - we went over enough accounts together that you should know better. Just for your information, in our last audited accounts published I insisted that KPMG disclose executive compensation, so its no state secret. And if you come in i will show you our budget with all the figures there - and then you can laugh at what I earn all you want. Its roughly equivalent to what a Permanent Secretary makes. And once again, just ask a question or check the law yourself, the nonpayment of contributions by an employer in no way affects his entitlement to benefit- its up to us to recover but we dont send the person to welfare, on the contrary we take care of lots of those on the welfare roll. You know you shouldnt make statements you cant substantiate - especially when you can hide behind your cloak of anonymity. Alas, it no longer works. And for the record for the umpteenth time, we never published our accounts with accounts omitted - and please come by the office to pick up our latest accounts and reports.

  3. Here is one example of Social Security publishing an Annual Report with the accounts omitted:
    Notice from the Table of Contents that 15 pages were omitted. Although he is likely to claim this was some kind of "clerical error," it continued for several years after someone wrote about it on anguillatalk and Tim responded.

    Why is he lying about this? What else might he be lying about? Why does he stoop to attacking me instead of addressing the issues fully and honestly? Why must I go to his office to see the accounts? Why does it take years to post them online? If there is information in the budget that is not available in the annual reports, why not put them online and eliminate my annoying complaints?

    Don, on August 2 you placed a copy of Foster Rogers' letter to Flag online. It didn't take years, you didn't make excuses about clerical errors and redesigning your website. You just did it.

    Tim, just tell us the truth. If you persist in treating me like your enemy, I will live up to your expectations.

  4. Tim again.

    You know, I now realize how true it is that you can drag a jackass to water but cant make him drink. I have answered your question about that posting over and over again and posted the correct version and still you continue to insist on your conspiracy theory, use terms like lying, and covering up. I challenge you to find what it is I or anybody else in the Social Security institution wants to hide. The accounts are public, have been presented in public, laid in parliament, prepared by highly qualified staff, audited by the international audit firm KPMG, which audit has been reviewed by the National Audit Office of the UK government. Get a life. I give up trying to convince you otherwise. To the rest of the readers, please feel welcome to attend our next public presentation of our audited accounts when the 2007 audit is completed (hopefully shortly) or to visit the office for a copy of previously completed audits.

  5. This is Martin Daynes.

    Don, to clarify something in your original post, it is not true to say that the Social Security Board accounts are five years out of date. The latest set of accounts on which the audit has been completed and the audit report signed by me relate to 2006. Tim Hodge mentioned in his comment of August 20 that the 2007 accounts are being audited.


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