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Govt bodies overpay $11m

Auditor General finds 1,834 cases in 2016
Sunday, July 9, 2017

Overpayments continue to be a major concern, according to the Report of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts for the financial year 2016.

“They not only represent a leakage of public funds but result in time and other resources being spent on accounting, recovery, reporting and auditing, as well as, at times, emotional factors involved in the recovery process,” the report stated.

There were 637 cases of overpayments totalling $6,477,125.15 in the Ministry of Education, the Appropriation Account reported. This figure, however, was overstated due to the inclusion of previous year’s overpayments. The report did not give details about the payees for any of the cases.

In the Ministry of Health, 190 cases of overpayment totalling $741,911.88 were discovered during the year. However, an audit examination revealed 177 cases amounting to $398,935.57. This resulted in a difference of $342,976.31.

There were 1,007 cases totalling $5,028,950.66 in the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, according to Note 2c.

The report stated, “The overpayments as seen in the ministry’s overpayment reports and the register for the current year were 549 cases totalling $3,471,609.37. The figure in the note was overstated by 458 cases totalling $1,557,341.29.”

The total overpayments recovered was $4,887,628.25. The amount of overpayments recovered as seen in the ministry’s files and overpayment register for 2016 was $3,334,107.93. The figure in the note was overstated by $1,553,520.32.

Note 7 to the Appropriation Account disclosed the total value of unpresented cheques as $116,886,595.00.

The unpresented cheques as seen in the Reconciliation Statement, the Treasury Card and the ministry’s schedule were $124,964,586.20 as at September 30 2016. The figure in the Note was understated by $8,077,991.20.


No contracts seen

In the Judiciary, contracts pertaining to five service providers totalling $1,128,257.72 were not provided for the audit examination. The report also did not give details of the services the providers were used for.

In the Industrial Court, signed contracts were not produced for management services by the National Insurance Property Development Company Limited at $85,250.00 a month and no contracts were produced for security services by National Maintenance Training and Security Company at $444,257.00.

Under Central Administrative Services in Tobago, a release of $74,846,150.00 exceeded Revised Estimates of $74,446,110.00 by $399,960.00. Contracts of employment were also not seen for nine officers whose salaries for the year totalled $721,127.00. Contracts with service providers such as janitorial and security totalling $789,593.95 were also not produced.

In the Ministry of Finance - Central Tenders Board, contracts were not seen for three contractors for the provision of services valued at $1,501,014.26.

Renewal of contracts were not done in the Ministry of Works and Transport and monthly payments totalling $131,364.73 were made to five service providers sampled.

The report stated, “It was noted that on expiry of contracts to these suppliers, renewals were not done, instead they were paid on a month to month basis.”

In the Tobago House of Assembly, contracts were not produced to support payments to service providers for transport totalling $605,649.80 and special projects totalling $1,460,583.25.

Contract agreements under General Administration in the Ministry of National Security for the rental of vehicles totalling $3,419,887.50 were also not produced in contravention of Financial Instruction 43.


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