Amidst growing concerns about the financial management of the BVI Tourist Board (BVITB), plans are underway to conduct a forensic accounting audit of the entity's finances.
The board is seeking to undertake a comprehensive review and reconciliation of fiscal years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 fund accounting practices complying with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The board in recent weeks undertook to secure a firm to undertake the forensic audit via advertisements in the local media.
It comes after the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) took up office in 2019 and follows a decision by Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew to revoke the Junior Minister of Tourism portfolio from Hon. Shereen Flax-Charles, the sister of the Director of Tourism, Sharon Flax Brutus.
Flax Brutus is currently on vacation leave and Rhodni Skelton, the Deputy Director of Tourism, is now serving as Acting Director of Tourism.
The BVITB which has received an increased budget allocation for the financial year 2020, has outstanding bills reaching some $500,000.00. This was reveled by Flax Brutus when she was quizzed by legislators during Standing Finance Committee deliberations.
"When auditing the Board, the auditor shall consider all types of payments and deposits, authorization controls, necessary documentation, cash receipt controls and procedures for such transactions including segregation of duties and reconciliation controls," the BVITB indicated.
The Board is seeking through the audit to determine the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of its operations by reviewing existing controls, and compliance with these controls.
The BVITB is also hoping that the audit assist with policies and procedures as they pertain to all aspects of the conduct and management of the finances of the Board, including but not limited to financial reporting, conflict of interest and procurement.
It is clear that the BVITB intends to pursue the findings of the audit even if it means court actions. As advertised, the auditors could be required to testify or provide documentation in proceedings.
The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board was established under Act. Chapter 280. Ordinance 1969. The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board was established as a Statutory Body to develop and promoted the British Virgin Islands tourism product and market the British Virgin Islands.
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