PM Browne confirms audit into Ministry responsible for festivals, but claims it does not mean there was wrongdoing

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has confirmed that an audit into the Ministry responsible for festivals is being undertaken. However, Browne says this does not mean that any wrongdoing has taken place.

It was United Progressive Party (UPP) Chairman D.Gisele Isaac who made the announcement of the probe during the “Eye on the Issues” programme on Monday.

Isaac says she was informed that a probe is underway, and the diversion of monies transferred to the Ministry was the subject of the investigation.  Apparently, funds were made available, twice, to pay performers and stakeholders for services rendered during the annual Carnival festivities.

In spite of this, these individuals – including the Party and Soca Monarch winners – have not been paid, and this apparently has fueled contention between Minister Michael Browne and soca artiste Tian Winter.

In Parliament on Thursday, December 1, Browne described the probe as a special audit, which he notes is not unusual.

He says that, from time to time, whenever monies are spent within certain departments, the Ministry of Finance will request a special audit, which he calls “a routine thing.”  

The Prime Minister says this is not the only ministry to have been audited since the establishment of an audit team by Junior Minister of Finance Lennox Weston.

Browne says the audit team will ensure there is no malfeasance within the Government.