Thirty five workers were recently overpaid by the Ministry of Environment and Drainage.
According to Auditor General Leigh Trotman, the workers, who were employed under the National Environmental Enhancement Programme, otherwise known as Beautify Barbados, received some $185,000 more than what was due to them.
And to make matters worse for Government, it is unlikely that any of these funds can be recovered, since many of the overpaid workers have since been retrenched.
In a note to the Auditor General, the then Permanent Secretary acknowledged that the overpayments could have been avoided and that there were inadequate controls in place for the docking of workers’ pay in cases of absence and sick leave.
“When a large number of persons are taken on to work, the necessary controls and staff should be put in place to keep track of their absences and sick leave with information flowing to Accounts in a timely manner for wages to be stopped and any overpayments to be repaid in accordance with the 7th Schedule of the Financial Management and Audit (Financial) Rules, 2011,” he acknowledged.
In an effort to recover the funds, he also said the available information on the overpaid amounts to the former workers was to be sent to the Personnel Administration Division and the Account General in the event any of these individuals was re-employed in the Government service.
The Denis Lowe-led ministry is also trying to put controls in place for absences and sick leave to be recorded and wages stopped as required.
In addition, the Permanent Secretary said letters were being sent to the officers who were overpaid for deductions to be made in accordance with the Financial Management and Audit (Financial) Rules, 2011 and with a view to collecting repayments where possible.
Today, the new Permanent Secetary in the Environment Ministry Daphne Kellman who took over from Edison Alleyne on April 15 of this year was not available for comment on the matter.