Thursday, 20 July 2017

Auditor-General’s Report 2016/2017

Reports of the Auditor-General

Report of the Auditor-General for the Financial Year 2016/17

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AGO report found ‘more could be done’ by certain entities
AGO report found ‘more could be done’ by certain entities

Several agencies were rapped in the latest public sector audit, for reasons ranging from weak information technology controls to inadequate oversight of development projects.

The Auditor-General's Office flagged the Health Ministry (MOH) for paying S$4.08 million for site supervisory staff engaged by its agent without checking the need for these individuals in building Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

MOH also allowed contraction variations of S$30.09 million without ensuring the agent seek approval from the specific authorities beforehand. Below are details of 5 mentioned in the report:
  • The Ministry of Health (MOH)
  • The National Parks Board (NParks)
  • The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)
  • Sport Singapore (SportSG)
  • The Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (Score)

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Public sector's system of managing public funds sound but government agencies can do better: MOF
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The S'pore public sector's overall system of managing public funds remains sound, but there are areas where government agencies can do better by strengthening their financial governance, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Tuesday said in response to the FY2016/17 Auditor-General's (AG) Report. FOTO: BLOOMBERG

According to the report, 3 areas - information technology controls, financial controls & oversight of development projects - were identified for improvement.

MOF said in a statement: "While we recognise that it is not possible to completely eliminate individual human lapses, errors or misjudgement, the public service is taking a concerted effort to address the issues identified.

"As the AG has noted, 'government agencies are committed to rectify the lapses and put in place measures to prevent future recurrence'. Heads of the agencies responsible have reviewed each case and where warranted, appropriate actions have been or will be taken against those responsible."

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Annual public sector audit flags lapses in finance, IT controls
Annual public sector audit flags lapses in finance, IT controls
The S'pore Sports Council, now called Sport Singapore, received 3,946 units of sponsored mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras & smart watches valued at S$835,500 for operations & marketing activities related to two major sporting events in 2015, one of which was the SEA Games. TODAY file photo

The Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) has flagged lax financial controls, weaknesses in information technology controls and inadequate oversight of development projects in its annual audit of the public sector.

The AGO pointed out flaws in IT controls “across several public sector entities”, some of which were similar to those identified in its previous audits of other public sector organisations.

In a 58-page report released on Tuesday (Jul 18), the AGO said: “The lack of attention to these areas observed in some entities is of concern in view of the public sector’s high dependence on IT systems and data for Government operations, and the fast-evolving IT security threats.”

related:
AGO report found ‘more could be done’ by certain entities
Auditor-General’s Report FY 2016/17: Audit observations
Public sector must be flexible, able to experiment: DPM Teo
Public sector to cut water & electricity usage by 2020, saving S$62.5m annually
Lax oversight in IT, financial controls uncovered in Auditor-General's report

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Auditor-General finds financial and IT lapses in annual audit of several government agencies

Several government ministries & agencies have been rapped by the Auditor-General for weaknesses in controls over information technology (IT) systems, lack of financial controls & inadequate oversight over large-scale development projects.

These lapses were discovered by the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) in the latest annual audit of government accounts for Financial Year 2016/17.

In response, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said the public sector's overall system of managing public funds remains sound, but acknowledged there are areas where agencies can do better by strengthening their financial governance.

related:
AGO: MOH to strengthen processes, oversight after AGO finds discrepancies
AGO report: CPF Board says members' data not compromised
Government agencies taking action to fix lapses flagged by AGO

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Auditor-General’s audit: Financial and IT lapses found in government agencies

The Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) discovered lapses in several government ministries and agencies pertaining to financial controls, oversight of large-scale projects and weaknesses in information technology (IT) controls.

In the Auditor-General’s report for financial year 2016/17, AGO said it found “irregularities” in the contract management for the development of the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, with the Ministry of Health (MOH) incurring about $4.08 million for site supervision staff engaged by its agent “without verifying the need for and reasonableness of the expenditure”.

“In addition, MOH made payments to the agent for the site staff based solely on the agent’s claims and without any contractual agreement,” said AGO in the report released on Tuesday (18 July). The agent also did not adhere to proper approval procedures on contract variations and this condition was breached for the majority of such variations totalling $30.09 million, AGO said.

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Singapore government uncovers lapses in IT systems control

Numerous lapses have been uncovered over how Singapore government ministries and agencies managed their IT systems, which include unapproved administrative changes and unauthorised third-party access.

These oversights were highlighted by the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) in its annual audit of government accounts for the fiscal year, ended March 31, 2017. The assessment covered eight areas including procurement and payment, financial controls, IT controls, and contract management. All 16 government ministries, 12 statutory boards, and five government-owned companies were among those audited. The AGO said it identified weaknesses in IT controls across several public sector entities, some of which were similar to those highlighted in previous audits.

"The lack of attention to these areas observed in some entities is of concern in view of the public sector's high dependency on IT systems and data for government operations, and the fast-evolving IT security threats," it noted in its report released Tuesday.

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SSC made late payments worth S$661,900 without a valid reason: AGO report

Lapses in financial controls & asset management have been uncovered at the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), also known as Sport Singapore, after an audit of Singapore government bodies.

Among these include late payments amounting to S$661,900, which are “contrary to Government’s instructions” & constitute an “unfair business practice”, said the Auditor-General's Office in its latest report released on Tuesday (Jul 18).

The SSC was among the bodies that the AGO audited for the financial year of 2016/2017.

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AGO's report on CPF Board: Lapses in management of 2 IT security monitoring systems

2 IT security monitoring systems used by the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB) to track the activities of databases and systems were in the spotlight in the Auditor-General’s latest report.

According to the report by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO), which was released on Tuesday (Jul 18), it noted the lapses included not reviewing changes made to the IT security monitoring systems & incomplete reports generated for review of potential IT security violations. There was also no policy to identify IT systems that should be tracked by one of the IT security monitoring systems, it added.

“These lapses could affect the effectiveness of the 2 IT security monitoring systems in detecting IT security violations,” the report pointed out.

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AGO flags Health Ministry for financial discrepancies amounting to millions of dollars

The Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) has flagged the Ministry of Health (MOH) for spending S$4.08 million dollars on “supervisory staff” for the construction of Ng Teng Fong Hospital without verifying the need or reasonableness for this expenditure. MOH also did not seek appropriate approval from its approval authority for this expenditure.

MOH’s payment of another S$30.09 million to hospital contractors made for contract variations was marked by the AGO for being inadequately scrutinised by the appropriate authorities. It had been revealed that the agent employed by MOH had not complied by the Ministry’s requirements that payments under S$80,000 be approved by two signatories and that payments over S$80,000 be approved by three signatories when the agent sought approval by only one staff.

The AGO said, “The lack of required level of checks increased the risk of fraud. The fact that MOH was not aware of the agent’s non-compliance indicated that it did not exercise adequate oversight on the agent.”

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Singapore Sports Council Unable to Account for 1396 Missing Sponsored Electronic Gadgets
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The Singapore Sports Council was caught with its pants down when asked to account for S$835,500 worth of sponsored mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras and smartwatches.

A test check by the Auditor-General’s Office on the records of 2790 of the devices found that 1396 of them could not be accounted for. The 1396 devices were worth between S$148 and S$948 per unit. All of the devices were given to the SSC by sponsors for operations and marketing activities for two major sporting events in 2015.

In its latest audit report, the AGO said that the SSC “could not produce adequate evidence or records to account for the whereabouts of these devices”.

related:
EDB Procurement Lapse after Complaint it was Biased in Awarding S$1.49m Contract
Health Ministry’s Wrongfully Approved S$4.08m Spending on “Supervisory Staff”

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Government “lapses” in 2nd straight year

Multiple ministries again are reported to have cost Singaporeans undisclosed millions for the 2nd straight year, after the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) published it’s latest report on “lapses”.

According to the AGO report yesterday (July 18), an undisclosed amount of financial “lapses” like undocumented payments or inaccurately-documented payments were found in several government agencies including the Singapore Sports Council, SCORE and the Economic Development Board. AGO wrote:
“These lapses include late payments, payments not certified by authorised officers, contracts not signed by authorised signatories, poor management of assets and grants disbursements made based on inaccurate or incomplete information.”
Just a year ago in 2016, the AGO also published a report criticising the govt on splurging taxpayers’ money. One such example is the Ministry of Communications and Information, where a police report was made but there was a news blackout or no follow up after that.

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Full coverage:
AGO flags Health Ministry for financial discrepancies amounting to millions
Lax oversight in IT, financial controls uncovered in Auditor-General's report
MOH to strengthen processes, oversight after AGO finds discrepancies
Annual public sector audit flags lapses in finance, IT controls
A-G's audit: Financial and IT lapses found in government agencies
Public sector's managing public funds sound but gov agencies can do better
Lax oversight in IT, financial controls uncovered in Auditor-General's report
AGO report found 'more could be done' by certain entities
Auditor-General's office finds IT and financial lapses in public-sector audit
Singapore government uncovers lapses in IT systems control
Government agencies taking action to fix lapses flagged by AGO
Lapses in checks and controls
MOH rapped over hospital in Jurong
SSC made late payments worth S$661900 without a valid reason
CPF Board says data not compromised by security lapses
Lapses in management of 2 IT security monitoring systems
Annual public sector audit flags lapses in finance, IT controls
Auditor-General's audit: Financial and IT lapses found in government agencies
Lax oversight in IT, financial controls uncovered in Auditor-General's report
MOH to strengthen processes, oversight after AGO finds discrepancies
Auditor-General's office finds IT and financial lapses in public-sector audit

related:
Auditor-General's Report 2016/2017
Auditor-General's Report 2015/2016
Auditor-General's Report 2014/2015
Auditor-General's Report 2013/2014
'Pervasive' lapses in WP town council
Lapses in Governance And Compliance