SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – In line with the principles of transparency and good governance, the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) recently signed off on the contracting of local auditing firm Baker Tilly to conduct a full financial audit of the first Trust Fund projects.
The audit will give an independent assessment of the financial reports of the NRPB. It will review the eligibility of expenditures made and compliance with the applicable laws and regulations
“My mantra throughout the implementation of the Trust Fund continues to be that we can only spend the money once. It is our responsibility as the NRPB to spend it in the most efficient, sustainable and transparent manner possible.
“We are not only accountable to the people of Sint Maarten but also to the Dutch taxpayers who have provided us with this grant. Receiving such a generous gift comes with the responsibility of ensuring that we are fully compliant with the required checks and balances.” Claret Connor, NRPB Director expresses.
The audit will cover the first 18 months of project implementation since the signing of the first grant agreement in July 2018. “Once projects have been approved by the Steering Committee, and the grant agreement has been signed, the NRPB has the task to control the flow of money from the Trust Fund to vendors and other third parties.” Joan May, NRPB Financial Management Officer explained. “We are pleased with signing Baker Tilly as our external auditor. Their audits will be the final check that all procedures have been followed and that the allocated funds have been spent properly on the designated projects.”
Present at the contract signing on September 24th along with Connor and May were Maarten Tervoort, Managing Director of Baker Tilly and Erik van Engelen, Senior Audit Manager. van Engelen expressed “I came back to St. Maarten after Irma to help and contribute to the rebuilding process. Unfortunately, auditor’s often come in when the money is already spent, but we are looking forward to confirming whether the funds have been spent correctly and will hit the ground running doing so”.
The first round of audits is scheduled to be completed by mid-December and will be released in accordance with the applicable regulations of the NRPB and the Trust Fund.