The Report of the Auditor-General was tabled in Parliament yesterday with the AG citing common problems which included widespread failure to comply with mandatory procedures, the use of funds for purposes for which they are not authorized and the lack of accurate and relevant reporting on activities.The Auditor-General discussed a number of different compliance failures including the failure to reconcile bank accounts and the absence of fixed assets registers. He explained that if a bank account is not reconciled "than there is no way of knowing whether the cheques that have been recorded against it are the ones that have been drawn."
The AG also highlighted that without asset registers valuable pieces of equipment such as computers and cars could be taken by staff members and no-one would ever know.
One of the significant deficiencies noted in different audits was the failure of Ministries to comply with Government purchasing procedures. The Auditor-General also found that for some purchases over $500,000 tenders had not been called for and there had been other major departures from tendering procedures.
An example cited by the AG was the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the Ministry of Finance purchasing 52 motor vehicles from one supplier without using the required tendering procedures.
The purchase of computers for schools has already had significant media attention and the Auditor-General reported that mandatory purchasing procedures had not been followed and all the project deliverables had not been achieved twelve months after the start of project.
The Auditor-General said the failure to follow purchasing procedures could lead to the Government paying much more for the goods and services it required, thus reducing the services it was able to provide to the country.
The Auditor-General advised that for 2010 he has directed his auditors to make recommendations for disciplinary action against individual officers who fail to comply with procurement procedures, particularly on major procurements which should be controlled by a tender board.