Saturday, 18 July 2015

Auditor-General’s Report 2014/2015


Auditor-General flags lapses in public sector
The Auditor-General's Office has completed its annual audit of the country's public sector, uncovering another slew of irregularities and lapses in various ministries and statutory boards. SPH

THE Auditor-General's Office (AGO) in Singapore has completed its annual audit of the country's public sector, uncovering another slew of irregularities and lapses in various ministries and statutory boards.

In his 72-page report, Auditor-General Willie Tan singled out 4 areas which public sector entities could pay greater attention to and make improvements in. These include the way grants are administered, the tendering & management of revenue contracts, the management of contract variations, and related party transactions.

He also expressed "concern" over the lack of documentation on decisions, actions taken and matters with significant financial implications in the areas audited.

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Annual audit highlights several public sector lapses


Singapore's chief auditor has completed the annual audit of the country's public sector, uncovering irregularities and lapses in various ministries and statutory boards. The 72-page report for the 2014/15 financial year, signed off by auditor-general Willie Tan, was submitted to President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Jul 1 and presented to Parliament on Monday this week.

Many of the lapses were related to slip-ups in procurement and tenders, while others involved poor management of contracts, lack of oversight and poor financial administration.

In his report, Mr Tan singled out 4 areas which public sector entities could pay greater attention to and make improvements. These include the way grants are administered; the tendering and management of revenue contracts; the management of contract variations; and related-party transactions.

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Auditor-General flags conflicts of interest
Managers of the Gardens by the Bay (above) project awarded contracts of more than $20 million that waived competition without compelling reasons.ST FOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Singapore's Auditor-General Willie Tan has signalled his concern over the way government agencies handle conflicts of interest, or related-party transactions, in business matters.

Also, some ministries and statutory boards were found to have been lax in the way they administered grants. They failed to ensure that the correct amount was paid out & conditions adhered to.

Lapses were uncovered as well in the handling of tenders for contracts & purchases.


Auditor-General's Report: Related parties not kept at arm's length by SP, ITE

2 education bodies - the Institute of Technical Education and Singapore Polytechnic - were cited in the Auditor-General's Report for instances in which transactions with related parties "were not carried out at arm's length".

"In carrying out their functions, public sector entities may have dealings with parties that are related to them. For proper accountability, transactions with related parties should be carried out at arm's length, and funding and resources provided to the related parties should be clearly reflected," the Auditor-General's Office said in the report, released on Wed (Jul 15). 

"There should not be any hidden subsidy, to maintain financial discipline and accountability."

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Auditor-General's Report highlights lapses in administration of grants again

Lapses in the administration of grants, the tendering and management of revenue contracts and the management of contract variations were highlighted in the Auditor-General’s Report for the Financial Year 2014/15, released on Wed (Jul 15).

In the report submitted by Auditor-General Willie Tan to President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Jul 1, 4 areas were highlighted for public sector entities to pay greater attention to:
  • Administration of grants
  • Tendering and management of revenue contracts
  • Management of contract variations
  • Related party transactions
  • In the report for the previous Financial Year released in July 2014, lapses in the administration of grants and commitment of public funds were also highlighted.
In the latest report released on Wed, the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) said: "The common weakness observed include failure by the public sector entities to ensure that the correct amount of grants are disbursed and conditions for grants are adhered to. For proper accountability, it is important that controls and proper mechanisms are in place to ensure that grants are used for the intended purposes."

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People's Association takes immediate action to rectify lapses flagged by AGO

Minutes after the Auditor-General's Office flagged various lapses by the People's Association (PA), the association said it has taken immediate action to rectify the lapses observed. It has accepted the resignation of the Admiralty Citizens’ Consultative Committee chairman who awarded contracts to a company he was linked to, and who approved S$114,767 of his own claims.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan who is Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC said the grassroots leader in question has stepped down & that he is glad an Investigation Panel convened by the PA found no evidence of dishonesty on his part. Nevertheless, he said the CCC will study the investigation report & review its procedures to ensure that the lapses do not recur.

Its statement is reproduced in full:
  • The People’s Association (PA) takes the findings of the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) seriously. We have taken immediate action to rectify the lapses observed.
  • The PA has in place a comprehensive set of financial rules for grassroots organisations (GROs) to ensure good governance & sound financial practices. However, as observed by AGO, there were procedural lapses including seeking tenancy and procurement approval from the wrong approving authority; delay in collecting course fees and data entry errors. There was also one case of non-declaration of conflict of interest and approval of own claims.
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Auditor-General's Report: People's Association cited for multiple lapses

The People's Association was flagged for various lapses in the Auditor-General's Report, released on Wed (Jul 15), including lapses in management of tenancy contracts in Community Club/Centre Management Committees (CCMCs) and procurement lapses.

LAPSES IN MANAGEMENT OF TENANCY CONTRACTS - Of the 91 CCMCs test-checked by the Auditor-General's Office (AGO), 35 did not obtain approvals from the relevant approving authorities for awarding 53 tenancy contracts, totalling S$17.78 million. Approvals were either obtained from committees which were not authorised to do so, or whose approval limits were below that of the contract values, the AGO said.

In addition, 10 of the 35 CCMCs did not obtain the relevant approvals for the direct award of 13 tenancy contracts without competition, worth a total of S$3.67 million.

rëlated
Admiralty CCC to review procedures to ensure lapses do not recur:Khaw Boon Wan
Auditor-General's Report: ITE cited for irregularities in pool, cafe contracts
Auditor-General's Report highlights lapses in administration of grants again
People's Association takes immediate action to rectify lapses flagged by AGO

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Auditor-General finds lapses at People's Association and Gardens by the Bay project
Checks by the Auditor-General's Office found lapses in the management of the Gardens by the Bay project FOTO: GARDENS BY THE BAY

Lack of transparency in transactions between related parties at government bodies like the People's Association was flagged by the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) on Wed.

Such transactions, involving substantial sums of money, were not carried out at arm's length & were effectively hidden subsidies for related parties, as they were either charged below market rate or not charged at all, said Auditor-General Willie Tan in the AGO's annual report.

At the PA, the Institute of Technical Education and Singapore Polytechnic, the AGO found inadequate management of conflicts of interest in related party transactions

related: PA investigates lapses at grassroots organisations flagged by Auditor-General



NLB in police probe for possible illegal procurement
TODAY file foto of the National Library

The police are investigating “possible wrongdoings” related to the procurement of electronic resources by the National Library Board (NLB), following lapses uncovered by an annual audit of the public sector by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO).

Details of the case were sketchy, as the police is investigating. Released today (Jul 15), the findings of the AGO audit for 2014/15 financial year of public agencies have also led to the voluntary resignation of the chairman of Admiralty Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) over conflict of interest in related party transactions.

The chairman was involved in approving awards of two contracts amounting to S$32,000 to a company where he held a senior management position. For 1 of the awards, another CCC member -- who was a director and shareholder of the company -- was also involved in the approval process. Both the CCC chairman and the CCC member, who were unnamed in the AGO report, did not declare their interests in the transactions. The CCC chairman was also involved in approving seven of his own claims totalling S$114,767. The claims were subsequently verified by supporting documents.


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3 things you need to know about the lapses discovered by the Auditor-General’s Office

Lapses don't only happen in opposition-held wards, okay? The Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, has flagged multiple lapses at government bodies in its annual report for 2014/15 financial year.

You can find the 72-page AGO report here.

Here are the main highlights:
  • National Library Board
  • People’s Association
  • Gardens By The Bay
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Multiple Ministries under fire from Auditor General’s Office
“There was no assurances that NParks had not spent more funds than necessary”

Multiple statutory boards by different Ministries are under fire from the latest Auditor General’s Office (AGO) report.

Here are the AGO findings release today:
  • Ministry of National Development’s NParks and the Garden By The Bay (S$1.06 billion value}
  • Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) and the International Cruise Terminal (S$510.18 million value)
  • Prime Minister Office’s National Population and Talent Division
  • Ministry of Education’s Singapore Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE)
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Corrupted acts found but PA declare “No evidence of Dishonesty”
After founding solid evidence that points to clear-cut conflict-of-interests by a Citizen’s Consultative Committee (CCC) Chairman and a CCC member, the People’s Association (PA)-appointed Investigation Panel found “no evidence of dishonesty”

These are the following corrupted acts committed by the CCC Chairman and the CCC member which the PA found “no evidence of dishonesty”:
  • 1) On two occasions, a company related to the CCC Chairman and CCC member won a tender with the lowest bid and the two knowingly did not declare that their relationships with the company. The two contracts are worth S$32,000.
  • 2) On seven occasions, The CCC Chairman approved his own claims to the tune of S$114,767.
  • 3) On one occasion, the CCC Chairman approved S$1,500 of purchase for a company where he was director.
The numerous corrupted acts are found and released by the Attorney-General’s Office (AGO) but the Singapore Police’s Corrupt Practice Investigation Bureau (CPIB) is not activated. The PA claimed that everything is “according to procedures” and choose to label the corrupted acts as “lapses”. The chairman of PA is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the CPIB reports to the Prime Minister’s Office.

related: Only the Min of Coms & Information report lapses to the Singapore Police

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Auditor-General issues damning report on People’s Association
The Auditor-General Officer (AGO) has given a damning report in its audit of the People’s Association (PA)

The report was released to the public on Wednesday, 15 July.

The PA is a statutory board under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), headed by Minister Lawrence Wong.

The AGO found a litany of lapses which included sums amounting into the millions which were irregular.


Admiralty CCC Chairman resigns over irregularities

Auditor-General (AGO) has just released its report for the Financial Year 2014/15 [Link]. It was submitted to the President Tony Tan on 1 Jul 2015.

AGO conducts its audits on a test check basis. As such, they do not necessary reveal all irregularities and weaknesses. However, they should help to uncover some of the serious lapses.

In the audit of the People’s Association (PA), AGO said that it found instances where training operators were engaged directly by grassroots organisations (GROs) without calling competitive bids. In doing so, there was no assurance that the GROs were able to obtain the most advantageous bids, it said.

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Full Coverage:
Auditor-General flags conflicts of interest
Annual audit highlights several public sector lapses
Admiralty CCC review procedures to ensure lapses do not recur
Khaw “glad” no “dishonesty” by CCC chairman mentioned in AGO
'Not practical' to only consult affected block when void decks
NLB in police probe for possible illegal procurement
PA probe finds no dishonesty but action taken over CCC lapses
AG's Report highlights lapses in administration of grants again
PA takes immediate action to rectify lapses flagged by AGO
NLB in police probe for possible illegal procurement
Police investigating possible wrongdoings to procurement at NLB
Auditor-General flags lapses in public sector
Auditor-General's Report identifies lapses in Gardens By The Bay
AG's Report: People's Association cited for multiple lapses
PA investigates lapses at grassroots organisations flagged by AGO
AGO finds lapses at grassroots organisations, PA takes corrective
Auditor-General finds lapses at People's Association and Gardens by the Bay
Auditor-General issues damning report on People's Association

Auditor-General issues damning report on People’s Association