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Audit Details Travel Visa Issues

An Auditor General’s report on the Ministry of Tourism is revealing new information about The Bahamas Travel Health Visa.

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS – An Auditor General’s report on the Ministry of Tourism is revealing new information about The Bahamas Travel Health Visa. Officials say contracts were not executed in accordance with regulation, competitive bidding was not pursued and some services commenced with only verbal contracts.

Tourism Minister Chester Cooper says it’s clear some mistakes were made.

Jasmin Brown reports.

The audit, which covered the period November 1st 2020 to August 31st, 2021 was tabled in parliament this morning.

Auditor General Terrance Bastian noted that five contractors were engaged including: CG
Atlantic Insurance, Ports International, Alpha Tango, Caribpay Ltd., Kanoo and Bank of The Bahamas.

The report also stated, “contracts for the BHTV program were not executed in accordance with the Financial Regulations 1975, section 21, which states all awards of contracts for supplies, works and services required by the government in excess of $250,000 shall be made by the Cabinet.”

The audit also stated, “no competitive bidding was pursued, and the said services commenced initially with only a verbal agreement. The signed contractual agreements were executed several weeks/months later.”

In the case of Kanoo, which was responsible for executing monthly payments to all vendors, a contract was never officially signed.

This despite the Auditor General’s report noting Kanoo’s contract length was from October 27th, 2020 to October 26th, 2021.

And that’s not all. As the Auditor General’s report also stated the opening of a bank account with Kanoo at BOB violated the Financial Administration and Audit Act 2010, section 24.

Bastian also audited the financial results of the travel visa program.

Bastian said the Tourism Ministry reported gross revenues of $34,442,104 and total expenses of $23,657,900, and net amounts of $10,784,204 transferred to the Consolidated Fund for the 10 month period of November 2020 to August 2021.

When it comes to a breakdown of expenses the audit stated:
Bank of The Bahamas was paid $1,537,053.80; Kanoo was paid $456,992.83; CG Atlantic Insurance was paid $16,782,875; Ports International was paid $2,872,087.25; Testing labs were paid $1,734,292.86; Think Simple was paid $851,683.50; and Alpha tango was paid $524,979.71.

 

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