Tuitt confirms Taxand’s payment request

POSTED: 06/21/12 1:13 PM

“It was never budgeted for.”

St. Maarten – Finance Minister Roland Tuitt confirmed on Wednesday that Taxand has written the government requesting they be paid for services that they rendered to the country. That letter is now being handled by the government’s legal counsel and a reply will be sent based on their advice. Tuitt has also announced that he may take the quote from the Foundation Government Accountants Bureau to next Tuesday’s meeting of the Council of Ministers. The quote will be for the conduct of a judicial enquiry into how Taxand was issued its contract. If the cabinet agrees then arrangements will be made to conduct the investigation.

“We were supposed to get the estimate this week and once we get it we will probably deal with it in the next meeting of the Council of Ministers and once we agree to that the process will begin,” Tuitt said at the Council of Ministers press briefing.

The finance minister also pointed that the previous administration had not specifically budgeted to pay Taxand. He made that announcement after providing a detailed explanation of how a minister can and should make an expense. In first instance a proposal must be sent to the Council of Ministers requesting they agree project or service. If the project or service is approved then a decree is drafted and signed by the responsible minister who then has to “follow the legal path to ensure that the payments can take place and the services that are requested will take place in an efficient and effective and prudent way.”

“As far as Taxand is concerned it was never budgeted for. So then it behooves the minister to go and make a budget amendment. The budget amendment has to be sent to the Cft. The Cft would have to approve the budget amendment. The budget amendment would have to go to parliament. Parliament has to approve the budget amendment. Then because the amount of the bills that Taxand was sending is higher than 50, 000 guilders then you have to get a (national decree) landsbesluit signed by the governor and the minister of finance. When those things are in place, then you can go over to making those payments,” Tuitt said.

If a decree includes a deviation from the Accountability Ordinance, the minister must provide “good reasons” for not following the established rules. In the case of Taxand former Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto diverted from the rules of putting the project in public bid. His reasons included having a local tax firm carry out the project would allow them to prepare their particular clients for what was coming.

“That’s a possibility, but you have to use the resources that you have available within a small country. The process will continue, but certain documentation has to be in place to see if we’re going to continue with certain companies yes or no,” Tuitt said.

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