Someone was clearly “not following procedure” judging from the “double invoicing” detected in the accounts of the Transport Board and highlighted in the last Auditor General’s report.
This was the only plausible explanation which Acting Senior Vehicle Inspector Kern Jemmott could come up with for the discrepancy.
Giving testimony before the Public Accounts Committee in the Senate Chamber this afternoon, Jemmott revealed that had protocol been followed, the accounting discrepancies which included eight invoices totaling $257 149.08, which was $128,574.54 more than was due to Trans Tech Inc, should not have occurred.
He explained that the Magneto Inventory Management System, which was in place since 2013, a year before the alleged discrepancies began, would have flagged the duplications. Jemmott, who had a brief stint as Acting Quality Assurance Manager, revealed that among his responsibilities, was having oversight of invoices. He said based on his experience with the system, the checks and balances were sufficient to prevent such errors.
“The clerks will be the first to check the system and enter the information. It [the system] checks the hours on the job against standard rates that we have. It would also check that the description of the job corresponds with what is in the system. It would then come up to the Quality Assurance Officer who would check again and once everything is okay it will go over to the accounts department. The invoices are checked against the job sheet number in the system,” explained Jemmott.
However, when pressed by committee member, Minister Colin Jordan, about gaps in the system which may have accounted for duplications, Jemmott replied, “If you put a job sheet number in the system that is in already, it would not allow you to enter it a second time. Rationale would say it did not go through the proper procedure. I am not sure what would have happened, but somebody did not do what was supposed to be done.”
His account of procedure at the Transport Board, seemed to poke holes in the explanation put forward a month ago by Managing Director of Trans Tech Inc, Lloyd Brathwaite.
In his sworn testimony before the PAC, Brathwaite made it clear that any accounting discrepancy would have been as a result of procedural errors from both Trans Tech and the Transport Board, as payments of this nature undergo several checks and balances before they can be honored.
“I have full confidence in our accounting system, but it is not perfect… We must bear in mind that these are dated invoices that go back to 2014. These invoices go through so much checks and balances that I believe on both sides something would have gone wrong. These are not cash invoices, so they go through a process on both sides, so somewhere along the line there may have been an error,” he explained at the time.
The Trans Tech head testified then that he was only made aware of the discrepancies when the report was released last April, adding that he has since met with the Transport Board to have the matter investigated “from his end”. [email protected]