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Auditor general uncovers $100 m. in illegal payments

Dr. Lincoln Douglas.

KINGSTON — More than $100 million in unauthorised overtime payments within the public sector has been unearthed by the Auditor General’s Department.

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis, in her annual report tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, pointed to two massive overtime bills in the ministries of Finance and the Public Service, Security as well as Labour and Social Security.

The Customs Department, which falls under the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, has come out a major culprit with the auditor general finding overtime payments totalling $86.9 million for the period April to December 2011.

The Government’s policy prohibits the payment of Crown overtime to annually paid staff.

The auditor general also found a major cause of “excessive and unplanned overtime” payment at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

“Overtime pay ranged from 11 per cent to 129 per cent of the employees’ gross salary per annum. We found that $31 million was paid in 2011 without the submission of the requisite work plans and estimates for the work to be undertaken,” Monroe Ellis said in her report.

She noted, however, that the ministry “has since indicated that overtime or honorarium activities will be curtailed with the restriction of weekend activities”.

This is not the first time Monroe Ellis has discovered such unauthorised payment of overtime at the Customs Department.

In her 2010 report, Monroe Ellis brought it to the attention of Parliament that overtime payments were made to members of staff, including senior directors, contrary to Ministry of the Public Service Circular number 15 dated May 21, 1976, which prohibits the payment of overtime to annually paid staff. (Gleaner)

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