The official report into the findings of an independent audit, commissioned by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) in collaboration with its subsidiary, the St. Ann Development Company (SADCo) has been shared with the media and the general public. The UDC’s decision to share the findings were in the spirit of transparency and accountability since delivering the report and recommendations to the relevant authorities and taking further steps to remedy the long standing allegations of fraud and corruption at Dunn’s River Falls and Park (DRFP), in particular.
The Board and Management of the UDC and the Board of SADCo had shared and expressed similar concerns for an extended period of time. As a result, the management of the UDC performed a high-level trend analysis of ticket sales, which highlighted indications of inaccurate or inappropriate activity. A new report of missing tickets was submitted shortly after the management analysis was performed. Based on these factors and others, the UDC sought the urgent assistance of an international independent audit firm to conduct a forensic examination.
The UDC’s Board, having completed its review of the recommendations provided in the independent audit report into several locations including DRFP, is taking the necessary steps to immediately contain the issues. A special Board sub-committee comprised of members of Boards of the UDC and SADCo was set up to oversee the recommendations of the audit report and the Board has already taken steps to establish the new governance framework for the entity. The Auditor General, Mrs. Pamela Monroe Ellis, the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime (CTOC) Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have been provided with copies of the audit report; and steps are being taken to bring into order organisational matters including the systematic financial improprieties.
The UDC and SADCo Boards would like to reassure the public that all necessary steps are being put in place to remedy the situation. Already, the Boards have taken immediate action to address the key findings that will help to limit the risk of leakage and instill a culture of accountability and transparency. This includes establishment of an independent and objective Programme Management Office (PMO) which will be required to drive sustainable change. Specifically, the PMO will oversee the execution and implementation of the short and medium term action plans, covering the following areas of concern:
- Sales, Revenue and Cash Management
- Financial Systems Management
- Information Technology Management
- Governance and Oversight Management
The short-term plan will be enacted within the next two weeks, and the actions from the medium term plan will span a period of at least three months
The UDC and SADCo Boards remain steadfast in their commitment to oversee the necessary organisational changes required to regularise and transform the operations at their attractions especially the DRFP and ensure sound governance is established in the shortest possible timeframe.