The National Housing Trust breached the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act, PBMA, when it did not seek approval from the Ministry of Finance, in the retention and payment of salaries to staff at the Orange Grove property, which houses the Outameni attraction.
That’s according to a performance audit of the NHT, done by the Auditor General’s Department.
The report showed that the NHT spent 28-million dollars on operation costs since the property was handed over in October 2013.
The NHT hired a Park Manager on a three year contract from 2014 to 2017, at an annual salary of 4-point-8-million dollars.
The Park Manager is also being given a travelling allowance, a 15-percent gratuity on his basic salary, along with other perks such as motor vehicle and staff loans.
The Park Manager remains on the NHT’s payroll.
Six other persons; an administrative assistant, a property coordinator, a caretaker, two grounds men and a housekeeper, were also on the NHT’s payroll at the Orange Grove property.
The sum paid out to these six employees, between October 2013 and December 2014, is approximately 2-million dollars.
The Auditor General’s report says the engagement and payment of salaries to those six employees plus the Park Manager, were not approved by the Finance Ministry.
The engagement and payment of the employees is also in breach of a government circular issued in April, 2010.
The NHT and the government were rocked last year by the revelation that the Trust had spent 1-hundred-and-80-million dollars to buy the Outameni property, located in Orange Grove, Trelawny.
The controversial purchase forced the resignation of several members of the previous Board of Directors, led by Easton Douglas.