The senate select committee’s much-anticipated hearings on the Auditor General’s special audit report on immigration resumed for second session today at the National Assembly building in Belmopan.

Today’s hearing resumed right where the first one in mid-October had ended, with the Auditor General Dorothy Bradley appearing before the committee members for interrogation. If you can recall, on her first appearance Bradley entered a statement on the record, admitting to committing an error in her report which said that House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte had committed an irregularity when he signed an application for passport.

Flanked by her two attorneys Derek Courtenay and Phillip Palacio, Bradley was asked to respond questions and requests for clarification on a number of aspects of her 700-page report.

She was joined by a member of the auditing team to assist in the responses to questions about the auditing process.

The probe’s starting point was the very start of the audit, to a memo copied to the auditor general which alerted her office about missing visas at the Immigration Department.

The questioning moved through the contents of the audit page by page, with Bradley providing crucial clarifications which often appeared to become arguments.

At 1:30, the hearing resumed and it got tenser. The Chairman, a practising attorney, seemed hell bent on pushing the Auditor General into certain corners and admissions, and he got her to walk back on another crucial statement in her report. That of thousands of Ministers’ recommendations for visas being illegal.

Aldo Salazar – Chairman of Senate Select Committee

“It is very simple is that still your view that it was an illegal act?”

Screen_Shot_2016-12-07_at_7.51.32_PMDorothy Bradley - Auditor General

“It is an irregular act.”

Attorney at Law

“The statement of illegality appears in the report as a result of the meetings today and other considerations, the Auditor General would wish to have it recorded in these proceedings that she want the commission to know that she maintains that it is irregular and would not persist in this statement that it is illegal.”

Aldo Salazar – Chairman of Senate Select Committee

“Thank you.”

But even with that significant statement of clarification, the Committee Chairman wanted explanations as to why the Auditor General saw something wrong with Ministers providing letters of recommendation for visas, nationality and passports.

Aldo Salazar – Chairman of Senate Select Committee

“I’m not clear on the answer that you gave why is it irregular for someone to write a letter of introduction or consideration for the issuance of a VISA, why is that irregular?”

Dorothy Bradley - Auditor General

“This is irregular because when you look at the files and look at the individual application forms we noted that minister made recommendations and in those instances recommendations were further facilitated with nationality and passports so we based on our examination decided it was irregular in all instances.”

Aldo Salazar – Chairman of Senate Select Committee

“So it is not the fact that the minister wrote, that is irregular? Based on what you are saying; what it is irregular is that nationality or passports were provided without the relevant/required documentation.”

Dorothy Bradley - Auditor General

“It is irregular because when you look at the regulations and whatever administrative notes they have their as guidance it makes no provision for ministers to make a recommendation.”

Aldo Salazar – Chairman of Senate Select Committee

“What regulation it contravenes?”

Dorothy Bradley - Auditor General

“It, which one it doesn’t, it is not of any of the ones we look at, we don’t see any provisions that say that a minister may make recommendations on an applicant’ s behalf.

The Senate Committee meets again on December 14th.

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