The Auditor-General is stunned at the slow pace of progress made by his team conducting a forensic audit of the fire outbreak at the Central Medical Stores in 2015.
Daniel Yaw Domelevo says after eight weeks of investigation, the forensic team is getting “closer” to gathering key evidence to hold officers responsible but he is worried at the snail-paced progress.
“We were expecting that the exercise should last about 12 to 14 weeks but we underrated the speed at which it would go. The speed is much, much slower than what we thought it could be, rightly so because the audit has delayed…,” Mr. Domelevo said in an interview aired on “Corruption Watch”, a segment on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Wednesday, May 2, 2018.
The Auditor General’s Department outsourced the contract to a private firm to conduct a forensic audit into the CMS fire and produce significant findings enough for the Attorney-General to begin prosecution of the suspects as well as their collaborators in the suspected arson.
However, Mr. Domelevo is shocked at “…the pace at which things have moved.
“I’ve been surprised myself…,” he conceded.
The fire occurred a day before a planned action to bring sanity to the Store’s management systems following revelations of malpractices and irregularities there.
Medical supplies estimated at $80 million at the time, were all destroyed in the fire that took almost three days to bring under control.
The Auditor General had hinted in November 2017 that the task of conducting a forensic audit into the inferno would be daunting because, much of the evidence that would yield the anticipated results, had been cleared from the scene on the orders of the ex-Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia.
The investigators have now resorted to retrieving data from the preceding year, 2014, to guide them estimate the data needed, Mr. Domelevo revealed.
Unlike the situation where there is available documentation to be interrogated in the alleged corruption, in the case of the CMS incident all the documents have been burnt, he said.
“Whenever we are doing a forensic audit, the idea is to hold somebody accountable; forensic audit is not like financial audit where you want to express opinions…but we don’t have all the information we need,” he explained further.
He noted: “This is a case in which we are going to hold people accountable, you go to court and you don’t have all your information right, they [court] will just throw you out… so we are going back to 2014 figures and see what was the stock level according to the records, so we’ll pick that record which they have…”.
He, however, expressed confidence in the progress made so far as he said some officials involved in the alleged inferno, are assisting with information.
“But fortunately we have made progress [because] some of the officers involved when the fire broke out, we are able to identify them and they have helped us to retrieve a lot of documents which the auditors require.”