Auditor-General's report: Lapses cost millions
The latest Auditor-General's report for the year 2015/16 was released yesterday. Here are some of the lapses flagged by the Auditor-General's Office (AGO).
A Document Generator System (DGS) worth $432,407 was left unused since November 2014 after it was found to be unsuitable for integration with an existing system.
The AGO found that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) did not do a robust evaluation before procuring the DGS.
MOM acknowledged that its evaluation should have been more robust. It is now exploring the redeployment of the DGS assets within the ministry.
As of June 30, former National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University students owed the Ministry of Education (MOE) $228.04 million.
For 33 of the 58 loans that were in default for at least two years, the AGO found that banks did not try to recover the loans for prolonged periods of time - ranging from six months to 3½ years.
The two universities outsource the monitoring and recovery of loans to two banks.
MOE also did not follow up promptly - stretching between two and 6½ years - on 23 of 32 loans that were pending its action.
In a media statement, MOE said it is working closely with the universities and banks to ensure prompt follow-up of loans in arrears.
LTA & HDB
Motorists evaded fares at carparks and immigration checkpoints.
At the Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints, the AGO estimated a $13.93 million revenue loss - 21.9 per cent of the total toll collected - due to under-collection. Vehicles passed without paying. It was not stated in the report how they managed to do so.
Land Transport Authority (LTA) is working with relevant authorities to address the gaps in controls.
Checks on five industrial estate carparks here from April 2014 to last August revealed 113,103 instances of motorists not being charged parking fees amounting to about $159,000.
Further checks revealed 243 instances where motorists allowed another vehicle to evade payment through tailgating past the Electronic Parking System (EPS).
Housing Development Board (HDB) failed to follow up on the monthly reports from carpark operators or take action against those deliberately evading payment.
At 59 residential carparks, there were 2,501 instances from April to September last year where vehicles exited EPS carparks without paying more than thrice a month. Again, HDB did not take any action despite repeated reports of non-payment.
HDB told the AGO that it has since started thorough analyses of reports from carpark operators. HDB will also amend the Parking Places Rules to allow enforcement against motorists for parking fare evasion.
Those found to have manipulated the EPS to evade parking fees in industrial estates have been reported to the police.
Final payment for contractors working with HDB were delayed for as long as three years and three months, the AGO found.
Of the 71 audited cases, final payments for 44 cases totalling $12.05 million were not made within the contractual 21-day period. In 21 of these 44 cases, the delay ranged from 36 days to 1,204 days.
HDB told the AGO that it recognised the need to comply with contractual requirements. It will implement a tracking system and modify processes to ensure prompt payment.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) continued paying for 28 mobile lines that were no longer needed, wasting $80,744 in public funds.
Eleven of these lines have been left unused for more than two years. The rest belonged to officers who had either left MFA or were assigned other lines three months to three years ago.
MFA has since terminated the 28 mobile lines. Processes are now put in place to monitor the usage and review the need for mobile lines annually. The Ministry also plans to implement a process to trigger the termination or assignment of lines when officers leave.