As per Part Three of the Finance (Administration) Act of Saint Lucia (2020); Public Funds, “…all revenues and other monies raised or received for the Government shall be paid into and form part of the Consolidated Fund…”
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Philip J. Pierre, has become aware of a previously arranged transaction in which a loan originating from a foreign government entity was channelled to a privately controlled bank account.
Payment into the Consolidated Fund:
(1) Subject to the Constitution and except as otherwise provided in this Act, all revenues and other monies raised or received for the purposes of the Government, not being revenue or other monies which are payable by or under any enactment into some other fund established for a specific purpose, shall be paid into and form part of the Consolidated Fund.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), monies raised or received includes monies received by way of a grant, donation, gift or other like method.
In 2020, the Government of Saint Lucia secured approximately XCD 54 million in loan financing from the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to fund the St. Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project.
There is no evidence to indicate these monies were deposited into the Consolidated Fund as is legally mandated by the Finance (Administration) Act of Saint Lucia.
Diverting monies raised for the government to privately held accounts significantly limits the government’s ability to adequately account for its usage.
To ensure accountability and preserve the integrity of the government’s fiscal management practices, the Prime Minister is seeking to retrieve all relevant documentation and information associated with this transaction.
While the resumed St. Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project steadfastly progresses under Prime Minister Pierre’s stewardship, the government intends to strengthen accountability mechanisms in the public service to deter and restrict the potential for mishandling of government assets by public officials.
SOURCE: Office of the Prime Minister. Headline photo: Stock image.