A Transport Board manager once in charge of quality assurance has denied knowing anything about seven buses that the Audit Office declared were missing, Parliament’s oversight committee on Government accounting has been told.
The public bus company’s former quality assurance manager Sylvan Codrington maintained that one of the so-called missing buses, registration BM506, was stationed at the Transport Board’s Mangrove depot before being sold, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has learned.
Reading from a report by former fleet consultant David Batholomew to the Transport Board, PAC chairman Reverend Joseph Atherley said there was mention of seven buses that were unaccounted for.
But Codrington told the PAC that he only had all of the relevant documents on one bus – BM506.
He said the sale was done before the audit and he did not know why the Auditor General was unaware of that transaction.
Codrington said: “I have all of the information on [BM] 506.
“BM506 – that is a 1997 Hino that was out of service for about five years.
“It was completely cannibalised and had no major parts on it that could be used to put another bus into service.
“That unit was out of service for about five years and the general manager at the time wrote me and asked me to do the assessment on BM506.
“I did the assessment and wrote her back and told her that the bus is completely cannibalised and cannot go back into service and it would be uneconomical to the board.”
Codrington said the general manager told him there was a buyer for BM506 and permission was granted to have it sold to Calvin Catwell, a former Transport Board employee, on February 12, 2018.
But a senior auditor at the Barbados Audit Office Nigel Gibson revealed that it was the Transport Board which had indicated that it could not find BM506.
“They could not locate it on any of their premises,” he said.
Gibson however, acknowledged that Codrington had already retired by that time.
Codrington added: “Probably if someone had called me and asked me about BM506 I would have told them where it was.
“It was at Mangrove and the Board Secretary knew of the information,”
When asked about the other six missing buses, the former quality assurance manager told the committee he would first have to know their registration numbers before he could say where they were.
He said: “I would have to see that report and they have to give bus numbers.
“You can’t make a statement like that and don’t have bus numbers.
“This is the first time I’m hearing that. Where would the buses be?”
Government Senator Lisa Cummins questioned whether they would be accounting records and procedures related to the sale of bus BM506
But once again, Codrington said that while he had those documents in his possession he did not know why that information was not passed on to the Auditor General.