A forensic audit into the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Project has brought a number of worrying findings to the forefront, especially with regards to the financial systems for the project. Auditors from Ram and McRae, Chartered Accountants, have surmised that there were gross weaknesses in the financial structure of the project.
They said that due to the nature of the project, those charged with governance were not even legally required to prepare and publicize financial statements on a periodic basis. However, the auditors examined the financial and non financial reports prepared for management accounting purposes.
The auditors found that the financial records were prepared and maintained by OLPF and the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU). In spite of this being the case, the auditors are of the opinion that the combination of those records did not even adequately capture or maintain the transactions in each financial system.
In this regard, they said that there were no proper records displaying the movement of inventory in the years 2014 to 2015, no record of the cost of furniture purchased, and no reconciliations of administrative expenses paid by the NFMU.
The auditors also noted that the fixed asset register maintained by the OLPF did not include the acquisition cost of the assets purchased. When consulted, the auditors said that the Manager at the time, Ms. Margot Boyce, mentioned that she was not aware that the assets belonged to the OLPF since they were purchased by the NFMU.
The forensic auditors also stated that discussions with the NFMU revealed that no fixed assets register was maintained by the Unit. Based on the aforementioned, the auditors said that they were unable to determine the total cost and the total net book value of fixed assets purchased and used by the OLPF Project.
The forensic auditing team recommended that a complete fixed asset register be maintained by the OLPF. They said that the register should include, acquisition cost, date of acquisition, depreciation charges, accumulated depreciation and net book value of all assets.
As for the OLPF Inventory System, the auditors said that internal controls implemented to prevent, detect and correct material misstatements were inadequate. Even though multiple requests were made, the auditors found that management was unable to provide inventory movement reports (perpetual records) for the years 2014 and 2015.
The forensic auditors said that there was no record to determine the number of laptops that should be in stock, which is evident, since no reconciliations were done between the physical stock and any form of stock records.
Also, the forensic auditors said that no Goods Received Notes (GRNs) were used by the Project to record the quantity of laptops received. OLPF officials told the auditors that the warehouse manager and clerks, who were responsible for the de stuffing of the containers, verified the quantities received against the packing list.
It was noted however, that management was unable to provide any packing lists for the auditors’ perusal.
In this regard, the auditors made it clear that a proper system would include matching the goods received with Orders, Delivery Slips, Goods Received Note (GRNs) and Customs Documents, and the use of bin cards at location and the maintenance of inventory records by the Accounting Department.
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