As the British Virgin Islands Commission of Inquiry winds down its hearings, startling accusations have been made by the territory’s Auditor General against the government.
Testifying before the UK-backed Commission, Auditor General Sonia Webster claimed that the government of Premier Andrew Fahie attempted to block her office from carrying out an audit of a COVID-19 stimulus funding scheme for farmers.
She accused the government of failing to follow protocol and of engaging in persistent efforts to thwart her review by blocking access or otherwise refusing to present documentation and files about the scheme.
The Auditor General also questioned the way funds were given out and further stated that an on-site inspection of farms failed to show any evidence of farming...or farms.
The government has rejected the allegations.
In a radio broadcast, Premier Fahie said the audit was only a "snapshot picture at a given point in time...therefore, at a different point in time, the picture can change as the information changes.”
He argued that “the validity and accuracy of an audit report also depend on the data that is analysed to come to the findings and conclusion."
Mr Fahie rationalised that "if all the data was not analysed or all of the data was not available to be analysed … then the conclusion of the report has to be approached with caution because the analysis is not based on all the data.”
The UK-funded and installed commission is wrapping its hearings and a preliminary report is expected by this month.
The Commission was installed in January at the request of the former Governor, Gus Jaspert into allegations of widespread corruption.