JAMAICA | Auditor General's Report claim Breaches and Corruption at NSWMA, PNP Wants Urgent Action

JAMAICA | Auditor General's Report claim Breaches and Corruption at NSWMA, PNP Wants Urgent Action

KINGSTON, Jamaica: The Opposition Spokesperson on Local Government and Sports, Mrs. Natalie Neita Garvey wants urgent action from the Integrity Commission and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) on the Performance Audit conducted by the Auditor General at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), which was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

In a statement today, Mrs. Neita Garvey said it was obvious that there was rampant waste, mismanagement and corruption at the NSWMA, and the agency was not being managed in accordance with procurement policies and provisions of the National Solid Waste Act, the Financial Administration and Audit Act (FAA) and the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act (PBMA). 

She said the Board and Management must take responsibility and do the right thing. “The report is extremely damning as basic contracting and payment procedures were being ignored by them, not once but consistently over the past five years”.

The Opposition Spokesperson said the country could no longer have the requisite confidence that the same board and management who allowed such breaches, including payments and deposits of over $100m to unconnected and unnamed contractors, will correct the financial mess at the NSWMA. 

“It should be recalled that the Board had breached the qualification bar to appoint the current Executive Director and the Performance Audit has now revealed glaring instances of breakdowns and breaches which point to weak general management oversight and poor financial management”, said Mrs. Neita Garvey. 

The Opposition Spokesperson lamented that what was very painful to Jamaicans was that while $28 billion of public funds were being mismanaged, the system of garbage collection and disposal has broken down nationally. “Not a single community is having reliable garbage collection which is threatening our health status during a pandemic”, she said.

Mrs. Neita Garvey said she would be asking the Chairman of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to convene a meeting to consider and report on the NSWMA Audit so the necessary corrective actions can be taken to stop the financial hemorrhage. In addition, she said, the PAAC should also call in the Authority’s management to examine the continuing inefficiencies in current expenditure.

In its report to Parliament, the Auditor General's Department said NSWMA records show that the agency has received more than 13,000 complaints from citizens about the non-collection of waste.

A total of 13,368 complaints came via the NSWMA's mobile application and phone calls to its head office and regional offices.

Complaints increased by 55 per cent from 2,154 in 2017 to 3,331 last year.

Reports of non-collection periods ranged from a low of one week to a high of  more than four weeks.

The NSWMA attributed the delays in collection to resource limitations, particularly trucks.

To spread its resources, the NSWMA reduced its collection schedule to once weekly in 2016 to 2017, but despite the change, citizens reported non-collection of garbage for more than four weeks.

The Auditor General said the rate of non-collection of garbage and the NSWMA's expectation that 30 per cent of solid waste will not be collected, increased the potential for illegal burning or dumping.

The NSWMA reportedly acknowledged in its environmental wardens training manual that the 30 per cent of waste not collected was either burnt or dumped in gullies or waterways.

The Auditor General's analysis of complaints received by the NSWMA revealed a considerable increase in the number of calls reporting illegal dumping.

The entity's enforcement and compliance unit recorded 261 complaints about illegal dumping between April 2017 and March this year.

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