Auditor General concerned about Sam Lord’s transactions

Auditor general Leigh Trotman is concerned about the way millions of dollars in transactions related to the Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel Redevelopment project are being recorded.

With the historic St Philip property scheduled for a soft opening next month as a Wyndham Grand Resort, Trotman says some of the associated funds not being voted in the Estimates “is contravention of Rule 60 (1) of the Financial Rules which requires that all expenditure must be provided for in the Estimates”.

The issue was raised in the 2022 Auditor General’s Report which was recently laid in the House of Assembly.

Trotman said there were “a number of issues identified in relation to the recording of the transactions “As at 31st March, 2022, the records of the Treasury show that $241 511 623 was received from the Export Import Bank of China for the project. In this regard, it would be expected that assets of a similar amount would also have been recorded to correspond with the amount expended on this investment,” the Auditor General reported.

“However, only $65 721 609.21 has been recorded in the Assets Under Construction account. Therefore, the total asset has not been recorded accurately in the accounts.”

Trotman said the Treasury “has indicated that the funds expended in excess of the $65 721 609 were not voted in the Estimates in relation to this project as required” In a response shared in the report, the Treasury said that “clarification will be sought from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment in relation to who are the owners of Sam Lord’s Castle and how the expenditures on the Sam Lord’s Castle Redevelopment Project are to be treated.

“This would determine the head of expenditure under which they should be voted in the Estimates in order to properly record the transactions relating to the project,” it added.

Trotman also flagged how Government was recording transactions related to its rental properties. (SC)

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