City Hall funds used without full approval – Accountant tells COI

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An Accountant attached to the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) on Wednesday acknowledged that monies have been paid to contractors without going through the required accounting procedures.

Edwana Miller has been working with City Hall from January 1990 to present. During that time, she served in various positions in the local authority’s accounting department.

Appearing before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) established by the Local Government Commission into City Hall, the 48-year-old woman outlined the accounting procedures at the city council.

She noted that the procedure involves payment vouchers going through the department under which the contract falls, the City’s Treasurer, the accounting department, the council’s finance sub-committee and the Town Clerk.

However, there are times when some steps are bypassed.

Questioned by the CoI on whether monies were spent without the required approval in the past, Miller responded in the affirmative.

“If irregular relates to the fact that they did not follow all the stages before payment, the answer to that is yes,” Miller told the CoI led by Justice Cecil Kennard.

When asked to rate the council on a scale of one to ten, the Accountant opted for the safe number of five. She said there are some things which they City Council have done right.

Miller claimed that she refused to sign documents in the past, which were found to be improper and this year, she was seconded to the City Council’s market Department and stationed at the Bourda Market.

Miller was moved to the Market department in January and was told that the council is working on a project for which she is needed in that department. However, after nine months, the said project has not materialized.

Asked whether she believes her stance on certain procedures could have caused the move, Miller said “possibly.”

She will be retiring in a short while and the non-payment of benefits to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is also a cause of concern for her.

Miller suggested the Council take stock of its employees who will be retiring soon and settle their accounts first.

The Council has not had an internal audit in years despite appointing an internal auditor in 2015.

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