NewsGovernment Inviting Bids for NHC Forensic Audit

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 1, 202213355 min

Castries, Saint Lucia, Sunday November 14, 2021:– The National Housing Corporation (NHC) is inviting bids from qualified auditing firms for conducting a Forensic Audit of its operations.

This follows a recent announcement of the government’s decision to try to breathe new life into its primary housing development entity on the eve of a thrust to address the nation’s worsening national housing problems.

The NHC, responsible for government properties and implementation of affordable housing policies, has been plagued by controversies in recent years, leading to calls for investigations into its operations after what ought to have been a profitable and vibrant financial entity seemed unable to remain afloat.

Chaired under the last administration by former UWP Government Senator Cyril Mangal and previously by party functionary Michael Flood, the NHC was also a key topic during the July 26 elections campaign.

The NHC has also experienced a long period of internal administrative disorder and the new administration seems bent on reviving its good fortunes, but starting with a Forensic Audit.

On November 8, the NHC invited bids for a “Request for Proposal (RFP) for the conduct of a Forensic Audit of the National Housing Corporation”.

The advertisement invites “a qualified auditing firm” to conduct the audit for the period from 2012 to 2021.

The approved firm will have six months to conduct its investigations, to report to the NHC’s Board of Directors “no later than 30th June 2022.”

Sealed bids are to be submitted to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, “no later than midday on Friday, November 26.”

Meanwhile, Housing and Local Government Minister Richard Frederick says the finding of the audit will also be publicized.

Saying “Governance is not supposed to be secretive,” the minister revealed that “The NHC has not been audited in years, even if the law demands that audited financials ought to be done every year and tabled in parliament.”

He said Government therefore “felt it necessary to put specific allegations regarding the NHC to rest…”

According to Frederick, “I can tell you so far, there seem to be some anomalies as it relates to the registration of title documents and the like, but I can’t say too much. 

“I am waiting for the auditors to conduct a thorough investigation, by which time Saint Lucians will really be apprised of what was going on within the chambers of the NHC.”

The minister also explained why his ministry had decided to hold the audit and make its findings public.

He said, “I undertake to make public the results of the audit, because we are the servants of the people…

“We are working for the people, so we must tell the people what their business is.”  

St. Lucia News Online

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