Rats! It all depends on their location
They are a rat-sized problem for the National Environment Agency (NEA).
The agency paid its contractor almost $4.2 million over two years to monitor and control the rodent population.
But the way things were done could end up making it more expensive to treat the problem, the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) said.
That's because the NEA told its contractor to only treat active burrows that fall within its purview.
The contractor did not treat 115 rat burrows as they were located in places that other public agencies oversee — a practice that the AGO report highlighted to be problematic.
NEA's contract specified the contractor was to carry out treatment to destroy rodents detected in public areas, which would include areas under other agencies' purview, the AGO said.
NEA's contractor treats rat burrows if they are found in places within the agency's purview. PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO
The result of this practice: The number of burrows increased over time, from 17 in seven locations to 32 within six months after they were first detected.
But NEA said that its intent was not accurately worded in the contract.
It had highlighted the requirement — to only treat burrows in areas under its purview — during a tender briefing and would inform relevant agencies of active burrows the contractor detected in their public areas.
The rat problem was among the examples that the AGO report for the Financial Year 2014/15, released today (July 15), found lapses in.
The audit into whether ministries and statutory boards used public money prudently included checks for “financial irregularity, excess, extravagance or gross inefficiency leading to waste in the use of funds and resources”.
Auditor-General Willie Tan submitted the report to President Tony Tan and highlighted areas that public sector entities have to pay greater attention to.
Among the slip-ups it identified:
*Lapses in how grants were given
*The tendering and management of contracts
*The management of contract variations
*Related party transactions
Read the full report in our print edition on July 16.
Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.