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CFT: No mistakes in semi-annual report on St. Maarten

THURSDAY, 18 APRIL 2013

PHILIPSBURG–The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT says there were no mistakes in its semi-annual report.

CFT was responding to recent newspaper reports quoting Finance Minister Roland Tuitt, who said CFT’s most recent semi-annual report contained a misinterpretation of facts.

CFT said it considered it important to set the record straight. The Committee for Financial Supervision submits a written report of its activities to the Kingdom Council of Ministers twice a year. This report, the so-called semi-annual report, is forwarded to the governments and parliaments of the respective countries, CFT said.

On March 28, local newspapers reported on comments made by Tuitt, who said CFT was “wrong” when it stated in its report that no audited financial statement for St. Maarten had been presented to Parliament to account for the use of tax money since October 10, 2010. Tuitt said reports had been made by the General Audit Chamber and he was going to check whether those reports had been sent to Parliament for review and approval.

However, CFT said that on page 15 of the semi-annual report it was stated that it had received the draft financial statements for the extended year 2010/2011 on October 31; thus the draft financial statements over the period starting on October 10, 2010, until December 31, 2011.

On the same page it is mentioned that the SOAB and the General Audit Chamber would report about these draft financial statements not earlier than 2013. Up until now this reaction has not been received. It is furthermore stated on page 22 that the financial statements are only available in draft and have not yet been adopted by Parliament.

The General Audit Chamber submitted its report on the financial statements of the former island territory of St. Maarten to Parliament on December 7. This concerns financial statements over the period up to October 10, 2010, and not over the period after October 10, 2010.

This report, CFT said, was shown to the media during a press conference of the Minister of Finance and was published on the Website of the General Audit Chamber. The financial statements from October 10, 2010, to December 31, 2011, have not been submitted to the General Audit Chamber as yet.

For the sake of completeness, the Committee said in a release of March 25, that “up ’til now none of the two countries have an audited annual report to present to Parliament to account for the use of tax money since October 10, 2010.”

“This statement is correct. No audited financial statement was presented to the Parliament of the period since October 10, 2010. For the Committee for Financial Supervision it is of great value that financial statements are timely drawn up and that accountability is given to Parliament, reason why this subject was explicitly brought forward in the semi-annual report,” CFT said in its release.

“The CFT cannot but conclude that the facts given in the semi-annual report are correct. To avoid errors, it is a good practice that the CFT confers with the Ministry of Finance before it submits its semi-annual report to the Kingdom Council of Ministers. The Ministry, however, did not detect any factual inaccuracies during the two weeks that it had to provide comments on the draft semi-annual report.”

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