The Universal Service Fund (USF) wishes to correct misleading information that has been in the media, concerning:
1) The filing of Annual Reports
2) Insinuation seeking to connect the USF to the issues affecting Petrojam.
The clarification follows claims made by President of the PSOJ Howard Mitchell while speaking on ‘This Morning’ on Nationwide News Network on Tuesday June 26 stating that the latest Annual Report available on the USF website is dated 2014. Mr Mitchell insinuated during the radio discussion that no reports have been submitted by the Agency for the last 4 years.
Chairman of the Universal Service Fund (USF) Robert Lawrence has described Mr Mitchell’s claims as unfounded and misleading.
He states that all Annual Reports up to 2016/17 have been duly submitted, as required under the Public Bodies Management Act. He adds that the draft 2017/18 Annual Report inclusive of the Agency’s Audited Financials for the period will be submitted at the board’s monthly meeting this Thursday. Further, this report is not due until July 31.
The Chairman is disappointed that the entity was not contacted for verification to avoid promulgating incorrect and damaging information regarding the Agency in the Public domain.
Meanwhile… The Chairman states that the fact that the Agency handles large sums of funds cannot be grounds for ordering a forensic audit into its operations. Additionally, the fact that the USF falls within the same Ministry as another state-run company currently being investigated cannot provide the basis to impute irregularities within the Agency.
As a Government Agency that is funded by an international levy, the USF is consistently subjected to local and international scrutiny and as such, irresponsible utterances can cause irreparable damage to its reputation.
The USF will continue to comply with the financial audit and administration act and we have been audited by our independent auditor annually and no irregularities have been reported.
We therefore view any claims of impropriety, without more, baseless.