A recent audit and review into the Mahaica-Mahaicony-Abary/Agriculture Development Authority (MMA-ADA) during the period – January 1, 2012 to May 31, 2015 has revealed that some 14 vehicles were purchased without any authorisation.
The report indicated that these vehicles were purchased but no approval was seen in the budget or minutes of the meetings of Board members.
It was reported that four vehicles were purchased in 2012 and another 10 vehicles in 2013.
The auditors stated that the MMA-ADA’s asset management needed improvement, while adding that the registers were not kept up to date and assets were disposed of with no documented evidence. Vehicles were crashed and no “proper” investigation was done, neither was staff penalized, the report stated.
The report referred to an incident involving the authority’s Mechanical Engineer, Shilendra Singh, and the assignee to motor vehicle, PSS 2052, which had crashed. The vehicle was deemed as “extensively damaged” however, no report was forwarded to the Board of Directors nor was any disciplinary action taken.
The auditor recommended that all assets be properly safeguarded so that in the event of an accident, a full investigation and follow-up action would be undertaken without delay.
Meanwhile, it was revealed also, that a payment of $3 million was incurred by the authority to one Adesh Rampratap for repairs to motor vehicle PRR 7716, a vehicle designated to former Agriculture Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, and which was not part of the MMA-ADA’s fixed assets register.
Therefore, the report stated, the Authority incurred expenses not belonging to it. The auditors recommended that only goods or services procured for the benefit of the authority should be paid for.
Meanwhile, it was also observed that the assets register was not up to date and instances were found where serial numbers, location of assets, assets numbers or labels were missing. Additionally, assets were being transferred between MMA-ADA and the Agriculture Ministry and other Ministries without proper documents or correspondence being sent.
Instances were found where motor vehicles were given to staff and not assigned to departments. This, according to the auditing firm, may cause abuse of the authority’s vehicles. The auditors pointed out also that this benefit was not provided for in employee’s employment contracts.
The recommendation that followed was: “Employees should only be given a vehicle to use if it is provided for in their employment contract.
It was further revealed in the report that the Hydrometeorological Office had purchased and stored fuel valued at $19,865,486 at MMA’s locations. MMA utilized the fuel with no documented authorisation and had reimbursed the Hydrometeorological Office with a vehicle (PRR 2131) costing $8,060,580 in full settlement of this expense. There was no approval of this transaction.
The auditing firm recommended that Inter Authority transactions should have proper approval from the relevant authority.
The MMA/ADA is a semi-autonomous agency under the Ministry of Agriculture, governed by a Board of Directors.
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