One of the challenges the Public Accounts Committee faced in the ongoing hearings is questioning an entity that had a change in leadership come in after the audit period under scrutiny.
But when it came to Marshall Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA) and the Arkansas Consulate Office, entities that had the same leadership with the same repeated findings, the committee unleashed a barrage of questions during the hearings at the Nitijela Conference Room Monday.
The proceedings got so heated it prompted Consul General Carmen Chong Gum to blast back at the panel with phrases like: “I believe in learning from my mistakes and moving on, but if you guys want to fire me, then go ahead,” and “may I remind you, the world is listening. I have a name.”
Along similar lines, MIVA General Manager Brenda Alik Maddison felt questions thrown at her seemed like allegations that she kept answering with “what are you talking about?” and “I don’t get it, what are you saying?” to the panel.
Put it this way, if the MIVA/Arkansas Consulate hearings were broadcast on television, viewers would feel a jolt of embarrassment because the facial expressions coming from both the panel and the ones being interrogated was not something the Marshallese community is used to.
The PAC committee did not let up, with numerous questions about the many accountability problems identified by auditors in both the consulate and MIVA.
Read more about this in the November 11, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.