C&AG findings into KWETB ‘shocking’ – John Brady TD and David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has described as ‘shocking’ the findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General report into the financial statements of Kildare & Wicklow Education & Training Board (KWETB).
The report published this afternoon came about following the failure of the former CEO and Chairperson to engage with the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General and answer the questions which they had raised regarding the 2015 accounts of the KWETB.
Speaking following publication of the report, Teachta Brady said:
“The long-awaited publication of this report follows intense scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee back in November 2017 where the former Chief Executive and Chairperson were in attendance to account for financial statements.
“The report published this afternoon identifies serious shortcomings in the procurement of capital projects, project overruns and propriety matters.
“This report makes for stark reading containing numerous significant breaches, including contracts being awarded to those connected to the then Chief Executive which were not disclosed, a van which was disposed of by the KWETB within a year of purchase, but received no payment until after audit queries were raised, it was also noted that a full year’s motor tax was paid just before the disposal occurred.
“The report also concludes that subsistence claims by the then Chief Executive did not comply with regulations and that the Board were given incomplete information making it impossible for them to be able to effectively challenge the executive during the review period.
“While the contents of this report are damning, we now need to see accountability at all levels. It is also important that the live investigation underway by the Gardaí is completed and that those involved are held to account.
Deputy David Cullinane, Sinn Féin member of the Public Accounts Committee, also expressed shock at the findings, adding that the Department of Education must take responsibility.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“The response of the Department of Education to this report is, in my opinion, weak and insufficient.
“It is not enough to call for greater training for board members when the problems uncovered point to a breakdown between the actions of the executive and the information passed onto the Board.
“It is also not good enough to say that if people had stuck to the rules then everything would have been ok.
“The core issue here is oversight by the Department on issues of procurement, as well as checks and balances.
“It is clear that these are insufficient and the Department of Education needs to make clear just what it intends to do to address issues that fall under its remit.”