The auditor general’s office has signed off on financial accounts for the year 2010/2011 of 10 of the 12 government ministries, Cayman Islands Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick told the Public Accounts Committee this week.
Mr. Swarbrick, answering a question from committee chairman Moses Kirkconnell on the progress of the auditing of public accounts, said that as of Tuesday, 19 September, most of the ministries’ financial statements had been finalised and one was awaiting sign-off, while the financial statements from Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development was still being worked on and was being broken down into three separate sets of financial statements.
A draft progress report on the audited accounts was nearly finished, Mr. Swarbrick said.
“We hope to issue that in the next week ... in terms of 2010/2011 financial statements and the backlog financial statements of 2009/2010 and previous years,” he told Mr. Kirkconnell.
Of the 25 statutory authorities and government companies, 18 have been audited and signed off, with three or four awaiting final signatures, Mr. Swarbrick said. Information was still outstanding from some of the smaller agencies, including the Sister Islands Affordable Housing Development Corporation and the Cayman Islands National Drug Council, the auditor general said.
Mr. Swarbrick said the performance of ministries, statutory authorities and government companies in submitting their accounts on time had shown “significant improvement” compared to previous years.
The auditor general added that when he arrived in his post two years ago, there was a backlog of about 90 financial statements and now there were about 20 outstanding.
He said his office expected to be in a position to sign off on the entire public sector financial statement for 2010/2011 within the next month, although he said issuing an opinion on that statement would be “challenging, at best”.
In that time, the quality of the information contained in the financial statement had improved considerably, he said, leading to fewer “adverse opinions” on the statement. Although there had been an improvement in quality, he said, there were still “significant issues” with the quality of the information in some accounts, and he singled out Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly’s Ministry of District Administration, Works, Lands and Agriculture for mention.
Referring to financial statements from 2009/2010 and earlier, he said nearly all of those accounts had been signed off, with some smaller statutory authorities and government companies still outstanding.
Mr. Swarbrick told the Public Accounts Committee that he was working on finalising reports to be scrutinised by the committee and they may be ready in time for witnesses to be called before the committee within the next two months.
Although not all the accounts have been finalised, Mr. Swarbrick said the performance of ministries, statutory authorities and government companies in submitting their accounts on time had shown “significant improvement” compared to previous years.