Oct 26, 2015 News
– probe underway after audit reveals inconsistencies
It was just last year the former PPP/C administration set aside $1B for a massive a ‘Clean up my Country’ Campaign.
But under a new administration, several inconsistencies have surfaced on how that money was spent, and an investigation has been launched.
At least this is according to an audit report on the expenditure conducted by the Auditor General and made public last week when the report was laid in the National Assembly.
Among the red flags raised, according to the Auditor General, is that despite repeated requests, all payment vouchers, together with the requisite supporting documents were not presented for audit verification of the money.
About a third of the $1B was expended on the acquisition of tools and equipment including tractors and trailers, mini excavators and skid steer loader.
According to the records kept at the Ministry, the tools were issued to various community groups to clean their environs and should have been returned at the completion of the exercise.
When the audit office made its checks however, it was found that both used and new tools were stored in the same area with no means of distinguishing one from the other.
“In addition, these items were not properly stored to enable a physical verification,” the audit report stated.
The audit found too that the necessary checks and balances were not employed to keep track of receipt and issuance of the items.
As such, the Audit Office “could not have verified whether all the items were received, properly brought to account, and whether proper control was exercised over their use.”
But the audit office’s findings were not just limited to money used to buy equipment.
According to the report, the sum of $303.7M was recorded in the Integrated Financial Management and Accounting System’s (IFMAS) report as payments made to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for clean-up exercises in various communities.
However, only 46 payment vouchers amounting to $160.2M were submitted for audit.
The Audit General said that in the circumstance, it could not be determined whether all the monies were spent for the purposes intended.
The audit also found that the payment vouchers were still on hand at the Ministry, instead of being cleared at the Ministry of Finance.
Compounding the situation, the audit checks on the 46 payment vouchers that were submitted, revealed that the supporting documents lacked evidence that the works were verified as satisfactorily completed.
The audit checks found that in eight instances, the amounts stated on the supporting documents differed from the amounts on the payment vouchers.
In another three instances, receipts attached to payment vouchers stated that the monies were paid by a private individual instead of the Ministry, but the payee and the signatory on these receipts were the one and same person.
According to the IFMAS reports, $74.6M was recorded as expended on the purchase of skip bins, barrels, garbage bags and other items. However, due to the absence of the goods received notes, Internal Stores Requisitions and details of the location(s) of these items, it was impossible to verify their existence.
The report found too that $36.8M was expended on trucking services rendered for the transporting and disposing of waste during the clean-up exercise. “However, there was no evidence to indicate that these disposals were monitored by the Ministry.”
As such, according to the Auditor General, “It could not be determined whether value was received for the amounts expended.”
Checks into the spending under the ‘Clean up my Country’ campaign, the sum of $16.568M was recorded as expended on cleanup exercise undertaken in rural areas. The requisite payment vouchers and supporting documents were however not presented to be audited and in the circumstance the propriety of the expenditure could not be determined.
Since it came into office in May 11, the new administration has found itself undertaking a massive clean-up drive, including the dredging of canals and trenches, in several of the very areas in which much of the Clean up my country’ Campaign operation was focused.
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