Jamaica’s Auditor General’s Department recently published its Annual Report 2021, which breaks down financial transactions and statements of the Jamaican government during the 2020-2021 financial year. The agency reports that it received a higher number of whistleblower complaints during this time period than the previous year.
The Auditor General’s Department is responsible for “special audits – upon the request of the stakeholders; based on areas of high-risk that are identified in audit reports; or through information provided by whistleblowers,” according to the report.
The report states that because the Department “relies on information from the public to assist in the scoping of its audits,” it “instituted a feedback mechanism where members of the public are able to submit information highlighting allegations of fraud, misappropriation of funds, and or noncompliance with [government] policies, procedures, or legislation.” According to the report, “[i]n all instances, the received information is reviewed and assessed.”
After a complaint is assessed, “a report may be pursued or incorporated” in the audit plan. The report states that there has been an uptick in “whistleblowing activities in this financial year,” with 34 reports received in the 2020-2021 financial year, while the 2019-2020 financial year only saw 6 reports submitted.
The report details how the whistleblower reports were made. From December 2020 to November 2021, 34 reports were received: 31 via a website with an “anonymous mechanism,” 3 over the phone, and none from referral.
“From the 34 reports received, the Department has commenced the review process and actionable reports are expected to be incorporated into the Department’s audit plan for the upcoming financial year,” the report states. Additionally, the report notes that “[o]ne report was also received under the Protected Disclosure Act.”